A brand-new Majors Creek resident has been named regional Volunteer of the Year for her work with Amnesty International.
Anne Robinson moved to the small community two months ago for a taste of the "quiet life", running her business and devoting many hours to volunteering.
Anne received the 2016 South Coast/Southern Inland Volunteer of the Year title as well as Adult Volunteer of the Year at a state awards ceremony on Thursday.
It wasn't a stand-out event that sparked her involvement with Amnesty International, she said, but a growing awareness of global inequity.
“I was noticing a lot of issues with human rights, refugees, marriage equality and the way we look after women worldwide,” she said.
“I became aware not everybody has the same rights. A lot of people aren't afforded a voice, so I felt I had a responsibility to speak for them.
She has never looked back from the first Amnesty International meeting she attended five years ago.
“I'm a graphic designer, so straight away there was a lot I could do to help, but the main way has been through being a convener, organising meetings and events.”
One event was the successful ‘Divercity Cultural Festival’ in Newcastle in 2014, bringing together residents and newly settled refugees, and attended by 1000 people.
“We were noticing in Newcastle there was a lot of abuse happening against refugees … We also noticed that when people met … them, they became much softer and actually realised they were just human beings.” The result was a community event where people of all ages mixed.
Now settled in Majors Creek, Anne plans to help out at Amnesty’s southern regional office in Canberra and to work with the nearby Braidwood branch in their ongoing activities of support for those suffering persecution.
Volunteering is something everyone can take part in, Anne said. No contribution was too small, “because all those little bits add up to making a big difference”.
“Even if it's an hour of your time every now and then, you can do something,” she said.
Centre for Volunteering chief executive Gemma Rygate said volunteers improved lives by helping out, keeping connected and creating a sense of belonging.
"Anne is both practical and creative in helping devise and implement programs that fulfill Amnesty's goals", she said. "Anne embraced Amnesty's birthing kit project, raising funds and organising teams to post more than 1000 packages for new mothers in developing countries.
"This year the Centre for Volunteering received a record number of nominations: more than 7500, acknowledging more than 100,000 volunteers, a record number since the awards began 10 years ago.
"Volunteering is in the DNA of Australians. In NSW more than 2.3 million people volunteer. If volunteering were an industry, it would employ more people than any other sector, including mining and tourism," Ms Rygate said.
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