John Curtin Medal for foster carer

Stirling Times - - FRONT PAGE - Denise S. Cahill

CARINE res­i­dent Fay Al­ford and Su­san Saleeba help chil­dren in two dif­fer­ence coun­tries and last week came to­gether as re­cip­i­ents of the pres­ti­gious John Curtin Medal.

Ms Al­ford has wel­comed more than 90 foster chil­dren into her home and has ad­vo­cated for the rights of chil­dren and fam­i­lies for three decades.

Ms Saleeba es­tab­lished Nakuru Hope in the Kaptem­bwa slums of Kenya in 2008 and pro­vides ed­u­ca­tion, food and med­i­cal sup­port to nearly 300 chil­dren and their fam­i­lies.

Curtin Univer­sity has awarded 43 medals since 1998 to peo­ple who have con­trib­uted to so­ci­ety and demon­strated for­mer Prime Min­is­ter John Curtin’s qual­i­ties of vi­sion, lead­er­ship and com­mu­nity ser­vice.

Ms Al­ford, who is on the board of Kin­ship Con­nec­tions that helps Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren tran­si­tion out of State care, said she would never for­get her time liv­ing in a chil­dren’s home from the age of eight.

“But that sent me on my jour­ney of fos­ter­ing,” she said. “I’ve al­ways had a strong com­mu­nity fo­cus around the well­be­ing and pro­tec­tion of chil­dren.”

Ms Saleeba said she was grate­ful she had been able to do the work she did in Kenya, but it had not come without sac­ri­fice.

“It’s not been easy but the sac­ri­fice is worth it to give ed­u­ca­tion, food and med­i­cal sup­plies to these kids,” she said.

In 2014, Ms Saleeba started her new school in the heart of the slums and opened an or­phan­age for aban­doned and abused chil­dren on the same site.

Later that year, with the help of sup­port­ers, she bought a farm to grow food to pro­vide 2000 meals a week.

Pic­ture: Alana Blow­field

Curtin chan­cel­lor Colin Beck­ett with John Curtin Medal award win­ners Fay Al­ford and Su­san Saleeba, and Curtin vice-chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Deb­o­rah Terry.

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