Citizen of the Year awards

Three women stand in a park with many trees in background. In the foreground and centre is a young woman smiling, dressed in traditional clothes of her Karen community.

2021 Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year  

Congratulations to the 2021 City of Greater Bendigo Citizen of the Year Cathie Steele and the Young Citizen of the Year Ma Aye Paw.

About Cathie Steele 

Cathie Steele is the Chair of the Bendigo Foodshare Board and has been involved with the organisation for seven years. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she was involved in dramatically increasing the organisation’s food collection and distribution, as well as the Cafés for Covid (crowd-funding meals from local cafes for people in need) and Bendigo’s Biggest Takeaway (where people could order takeaway and donate money to Bendigo Foodshare at the same time) campaigns.

In 2019, Cathie oversaw Bendigo Foodshare’s work with local supermarkets to increase food rescue collections from 40 to 96 a week, and to expand from a 5-day to a 7-day-a-week service. She also oversaw the establishment of the Bendigo Community Food Pantry (an online food relief ordering system).

Cathie is also on the board of the Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre.

About Ma Aye Paw

Ma Aye Paw is the secretary of the Karen Community Hub and Language School and a volunteer teacher with the organisation. Ma works tirelessly providing support for Karen community members and members of other CALD communities.

Ma Paw is a Karen refugee from Myanmar and arrived in Bendigo in 2016.

Ma Paw is a City of Greater Bendigo Intercultural Ambassador, has undertaken the Leadership Program with Bendigo Community Health Services, and has a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance and a Diploma in interpreting.

Last year during COVID-19, she did design, translation and audio-visual work with Bendigo Community Health Services and the City to communicate important health messages to the Karen community. She is hoping to undertake a nursing diploma to gain more skills to serve the community.

Contact us

For more information about the Citizen of the Year awards please contact us on 03 5434 6000.

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