Winner

2022

Lifetime Achievement

Hongsar Channaibanya

Hongsar Channaibanya has been a strong supporter and advocate for multicultural and refugee and asylum seeker young people in the ACT for over 30 years. Hongsar is a humble but highly respected man who has shared his skills and passion for young people and their families from refugee backgrounds.

Hongsar has worked at Companion House for the past 16 years in multiple roles. As a Senior Case Worker, Hongsar is deeply respected by staff and clients. His work has made a significant contribution to the lives of hundreds of people, many of which are very vulnerable with complex needs and in their first years of resettlement after trauma and displacement. He is also passionate about employment, training and education and the vital opportunities these offer young people when they are settling in Canberra. He demonstrates great skill, empathy and understanding in his case work.

Hongsar is from a refugee background himself and is a longstanding and deeply respected leader in the Canberra Mon community. He also has served the Mon community and other refugee communities through many hundreds of hours of voluntary service supporting refugee community members of all ages.

Hongsar’s significant amount of work has also included:

  • working with ACT Parents and Citizens Association to assist schools to better support young people and families from refugee backgrounds.
  • coordinated five ACT Education Forums over seven years which brought together teachers, policy makers, political leaders, Parents and Citizens Association, school principals and students and their families from refugee backgrounds.
  • training health care workers and community sector workers in using interpreters and in working cross culturally for many years.
  • coordinating events, playgroups, community forums and mentoring opportunities.
  • being a member of MYAN (Multicultural Youth Advisory Network) for over a decade and has been a major contributor.
  • working with ACTCOSS over many years to highlight the needs and experiences of young people and their families from refugee backgrounds.
  • established and coordinated the Happiness Garden where people could grow their own vegetables in peace and tranquillity together and find another path to healing from trauma.
  • working in Thailand supporting refugees from Myanmar.
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