On 26th October, Victoria’s Governor Dessau along with Colin Brooks MP, the Minister for Disability, Ageing & Carers and Child Protection & Family Services, presented the 2022 Victorian Senior of the Year Awards.
These prestigious awards celebrate Victorians whose kindness and generosity make the state stronger and fairer.
77-year-old Jagdish Chander Chugh received the COTA Senior Achiever’s Award 2022.
Mr Chugh moved to Australia over 15 years ago and has been an eager volunteer with Indian seniors groups in the Wyndham area. He generously shares his time and knowledge to help others in the local community.
As the Chairman of Club 60 Tarneit, a seniors group, Mr Chugh coordinates and participates in a range of activities from Indian festivals to sports and social events. He has also initiated many bi-lingual information sessions for seniors groups on important topics including citizenship, pensions and concessions, Medicare and public transport.
In a Facebook post, Mr Chugh said:
“I dedicate this award to all the senior migrants clubs in Wyndham who always assisted and encouraged me. Thank you to Sunil Abbott, Kapil Thakkar and all the members of Club 60 Tarneit for always supporting me. I am thankful to my family for their support in performing my volunteering work.”
On the Victorian Government’s recognition of the work of his father, Dr Ritesh Chugh said:
“I don’t think he had any challenges settling into life here, as he lived overseas extensively before coming to Australia. However, as with any migrant, he had endless lived experiences to share. So, he started sharing his experiences and knowledge, assisting with social inclusion via a diverse range of socially relevant information sessions with the many Indian Senior Clubs in Wyndham. People reached out to him for guidance and advice on visa processes, availing of different government services, and settlement challenges. He gave his time and knowledge patiently and voluntarily, and continues to do so.”
83-year-old Santhana Ledchumy Selvendra also received the prestigious COTA Senior Achiever’s Award 2022.
Santhana migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka in the 1970s and since then she has supported new migrants from South Asian communities to feel at home in Australia through a range of education and cultural endeavours.
Santhana has been instrumental in the establishment of three major religious temples in Carrum Downs, The Basin and Sunshine, each providing a space for worship, cultural connection and community engagement for Victoria’s growing Sri Lankan and Indian community.
Santhana also has a long teaching career in Victoria and was instrumental in introducing Tamil as a VCE subject. She supported advanced students to undertake research and present their work at competitions in Canberra and wrote many books for language schools.
The Victorian Senior of the Year Awards are presented annually each year in October as part of the Victorian Seniors Festival. These Awards are a partnership between the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and COTA Victoria.