Thursday 25 October, 2012
Tamworth's Shalini Pratap has been named on the 2012 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll for her dedication to promoting and assisting in the advancement of social inclusion and unity in the region.
The Honour Roll – launched earlier this month at the NSW Rural Women's Gathering at Parkes - includes 126 inspiring women nominated from a range of services such as Red Cross, the Cancer Council, hospital auxiliaries, bush fire brigades, Meals on Wheels and rescue services.
'I am honoured and greatly surprised to be recognised as a hidden treasure by my community,' said Mrs Pratap. 'What I do is from my heart and it gives me great personal satisfaction. To be recognised for this work is very rewarding.' Mrs Pratap, a third generation Fijian Indian, and her husband moved to Australia (initially Alice Springs) 13 years ago. In 2003 circumstances of uncertainty regarding permanency in Australia resulted in them moving to Tamworth.
Mrs Pratap was nominated by Tamworth Regional Council Cultural Diversity Officer, Tanya Hague.
'Shalini has emerged as a multicultural leader,' said Mrs Hague. 'She is a neighbour and friend of newly arrived migrants and volunteer migrant advocate.
'She initiated and coordinates local Indian events such as the Diwali Festival (annual Indian Light Festival) and Bollywood nights. She also assists in the organisation of other cultural activities within the region.'
Mrs Hague said Mrs Pratap has experienced uncertainty, social isolation and displacement and this motivates her to devote hours of voluntary time supporting individuals and families from migrant backgrounds.
'Shalini is able to speak of her experiences with great insight, awareness and humour,' Mrs Hague said. 'Her passion for her Indian heritage is obvious and so is the great love and appreciation she has for the country she now calls home.'
The annual Hidden Treasures project started in 2010 and is an initiative of NSW Department of Primary Industries Rural Women's Network and is supported by Women NSW and the NSW Centre for Volunteering.