Sian White OAM (2015)
From an early age Sian White has put the needs of others before her own. As a young child she collected shoes and distributed them to children who didn't have any, and throughout her school, university and work life she continued as an active volunteer and fund-raiser.
At the age of 15 she was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International for her volunteer and humanitarian work, becoming the youngest recipient worldwide. A year later, she became an Honorary Rotarian of the Scarborough Rotary Club of Western Australia as a result of her outstanding charity work.
Whilst a scholar at St Brigid’s School in Perth in 2002, Sian organised a ‘Battle of the Bands’ concert with the aim of raising funds for the Wheelchairs for Kids charity. The concert was a huge success and helped to raise enough funds for 61 wheelchairs.
Sian was awarded a John Curtin Undergraduate Scholarship to study a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Information) at Curtin University in 2005. She joined Curtin Volunteers! as soon as she commenced and, not surprisingly, she soon became President of Curtin Volunteers!
Whilst studying at Curtin, Sian initiated three charity projects in India, which relied heavily on her hard work and dedication, and the generosity of Rotarians at home and abroad.
The projects included the rebuilding of a girls’ school, the building of hostels for blind and deaf children, and building and equipping a unique Vocational Training Centre to empower people with disabilities by providing them with meaningful employment opportunities.
During the four years it took to complete these projects, Sian travelled to India regularly at her own expense, further evidencing her humanitarian spirit.
In 2009, as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development, Sian worked on the National Tuberculosis Prevention Program in Papua New Guinea. She spent four years undertaking this work, eventually becoming the National TB Program Manager for World Vision.
Over the past years, Sian has organised fund raising events for many different international humanitarian causes, including the victims of Hurricane Mitch in Central America, the World Vision Kosovo Appeal, the Indian Earthquake Appeal, Worldwide Polio Eradication, Free the Bears Fund, the Red Cross Ethiopian Appeal, and the 2004 Tsunami Appeal.
Through her tireless dedication to supporting others less fortunate in Australia and around the world, Sian has raised more than $260,000 for charities and emergency relief appeals.
She has also represented Australia at many leadership and humanitarian conferences.
There has seldom been a time when Sian has not been engaged in helping others. She has shown great vision and leadership in her approach to the many causes she supports and has inspired the many people and communities she has worked with.
Sian is a humanitarian and an optimist, driven by the belief that every person can make a difference. She is a most worthy recipient of the John Curtin Medal 2015.