Today the Westpac Scholars Trust recognised 10 outstanding social innovators, awarding each with fellowships valued up to $50,000 to invest in their personal and professional development.
Amongst this year’s recipients is Tanya Dupagne, 2017 AgriFutures Australian Rural Woman of the Year and 2017 Western Australian Rural Woman of the Year. Specialising in programs for youth affected by trauma, Tanya has worked with more than 130,000 children around the world over the last 15 years. In 2013, Tanya founded Camp Kulin, an organisation that works with children across Western Australia. She plans to use the fellowship to connect with other people and organisations innovating in her field.
“The Westpac Social Change Fellowship is a chance to concentrate on my development, which will in turn help me help others,” says Tanya. “There’s no other program I've come across that gives you the opportunity to spend time on you, where you receive such a huge amount of support to grow and develop, which in turn will enable me to bring fresh ideas to my work.”
Usman Iftikhar co-founded Catalysr in 2016 after experiencing firsthand the employment challenges faced by migrants and refugees on arriving in Australia. In under three years, Catalysr has helped over 100 migrants and supported the launch of 30 new enterprises in Australia.
“For me, the Westpac Social Change Fellowship is an incredible opportunity to meet like-minded changemakers and pioneers in Australia, so we can learn from each other and collaborate. It also provides a fantastic platform for personal growth and development that will enable me to be a better leader,” says Usman.
According to Westpac Scholars Trust CEO, Susan Bannigan: “Each of the 10 fellows announced today are extraordinary individuals driving positive change, in areas including Indigenous and rural communities, refugees, and people effected by disability and disadvantage.”
“Now in its fourth year, we can see the positive impact the Fellowship program is making, not only on the individual, but also their community, organisation and the people they’re helping. Past recipients like Luke Terry from Vanguard Laundry, Jeremy Forbes from HALT and Madeleine Buchner OAM from Little Dreamers, have really benefited from the development and networking opportunities the program offers – enabling them to drive greater change.”
Beyond the financial investment of the fellowship, every Westpac Social Change Fellow gains lifelong access to the Westpac 100 Scholars Network. Growing by 100 scholars a year across Westpac Scholars Trust’s five scholarship programs, the network connects a community of people from all walks of life with the ideas and drive to help shape a better future for all Australians. “Every Westpac Scholar will have lifelong access to mentorship, collaboration, learning and development opportunities through the Westpac 100 Scholars Network,” continues Susan.
To read the full profiles of all 2019 Westpac Social Change Fellows, please visit the Westpac Scholars Directory.