Soroptimist International of Western Australia was delighted to host SISWP President Anusha Santhirasthipam and Programme Coordinator 2 Dixie Brown to attend a weekend of celebration, friendship and learning in Perth in late August. A major event was a high tea held at the University Club of Western Australia for the presentation of the 2019 Stella Giles Award for Achievement and the celebration of SI Perth’s 70th birthday.

Article written by Vida Corbett, Treasurer, Soroptimist International of Western Australia

Stella Giles award winnerThe Award recognises a Western Australian woman who has made a significant contribution in her chosen field and to the community. It is intended to support a project over two years that will build on her experience and work for the benefit of women and girls. Valued at $10,000, the Award is a major project of SIWA and is supported by the 15 Soroptimist clubs in Western Australia.

The 2019 Stella Giles Award for Achievement was awarded to Ngarluma woman Jolleen Hicks for her project the Roebourne Women’s Place, a community support centre for Indigenous women in Roebourne. Jolleen is a lawyer and small business owner who was awarded the Young Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2010 and who passionately represents her community and advocates for Aboriginal people. Jolleen was nominated by SI Karratha and Districts club.
President Anusha presented the Award to Jolleen who will use the prize money to expand the programs of the Roebourne Women’s Place, particularly in the areas of cultural connectedness; women’s health; family and domestic violence; and social and emotional wellbeing.

SIWA President Liz Butson said, “Ms Hicks was an inspiring recipient of the 28th Stella Giles Award for Achievement with great passion and determination to build capacity in her own Aboriginal community and make a difference to the lives of women and girls in Roebourne and the surrounding communities”.
The Hon. Donna Faragher, MLC; Shadow Minister for Women’s Interests, also attended the event and acknowledged the 70-year history and achievements of the Perth club, the first club to be established in Western Australia.

The Award carries the name Stella Giles in memory of a committed and passionate Soroptimist from SI Perth who worked tirelessly as Region Extension Officer to extend the influence of Soroptimists in Western Australia during the 1970s and ‘80s.

Region WA meeting and workshop webinarThe Region Council Meeting and a Workshop/Webinar presented by Anusha were held the following day. It was a great opportunity for Soroptimists from around the state to get together, share ideas, learn and have fun. A number of the regional clubs joined us on Skype and others chose to drive or fly the great distances to participate. It was a very enjoyable and rewarding day of Soroptimist friendship, sharing and learning.

A huge thank you to Anusha and Dixie for attending and supporting us over the weekend and sharing their knowledge and experience with us.

Region WA high tea






Very top image: Pictured L-R: SIWA President Liz Butson, Hon. Donna Faragher MLC, Stella Giles Award Winner Jolleen Hicks, SISWP President Anusha Santhirasthipam


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