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‘Mums’ to hundreds of children awarded 2018 John Curtin Medal

Media release

Two inspirational women – Fay Alford and Susan Saleeba – who have given countless hours of their time to help children in need have been awarded the John Curtin Medal at a special ceremony held today.

Ms Alford, the Director of the Foster Care Association of Western Australia, has welcomed more than 90 foster children into her family home and worked tirelessly to enhance services and advocate for the rights of children and families over the past three decades.

Ms Saleeba, the founder of Nakuru Hope Foundation, has helped hundreds of Kenyan children after opening a learning centre, orphanage and a farm that produces 2000 meals a week, as well as developing plans to build a sanctuary for women and children fleeing family violence.

The John Curtin Medal is awarded annually by the University to recognise individuals or organisations displaying the attributes associated with Australia’s World War II Prime Minister – vision, leadership and a commitment to community service.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated both recipients, adding they were worthy recipients of the prestigious award given their extensive community service.

Professor Terry said Ms Alford had volunteered her time to helping Western Australian children in need, as well as supporting and advocating for change to the system.

“Fay grew up as a child in care, so her first-hand knowledge, along with her commitment and vision to make the out-of-home care system a better experience for children, drives her work,” Professor Terry said.

Professor Terry said Ms Saleeba, known as ‘Mama Susan’ by the people of Kaptembwa, had sought to bridge the gap between affluence and poverty by creating a charity that aimed to break the poverty cycle through education.

“Susan created the not-for-profit foundation, where every cent raised supports the cause, with a particular focus on literacy as a potential avenue for disadvantaged children and adults living in Kenya to overcome poverty,” Professor Terry said.

The John Curtin Medals are presented each year on, or close to, October 7, the anniversary of John Curtin’s appointment to the office of Prime Minister in 1941.

The 2018 John Curtin Medallists join 41 other outstanding individuals and organisations that have been recognised with Curtin University’s most prestigious non-academic award since 1998.

This year marks the 21st anniversary of the John Curtin Medal.