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Niharika Hiremath as youngest recipient joins Sakshi Thakur and Harinder Kaur in King’s Birthday Honours list

Governor-General Hurley, presenting his final Honours list, remarked on the progress made over the past five years towards reflecting the diversity of the Australian community.

In a historic first, Niharika Hiremath OAM of Melbourne, at just 29 years old, has been recognised as the youngest recipient in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours 2024.

Joining her in the distinguished list are two other remarkable women of Indian origin: Melbourne’s social entrepreneur Sakshi Thakur and Sydney’s family violence activist Harinder Kaur of the Harman Foundation.

Niharika Hiremath: Championing Mental Health

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Image: Niharika Hiremath (Source: LinkedIn)

Niharika Hiremath is a well-known s a mental health advocate and member of the National Mental Health Commission’s Independent Advisory Board. Her advocacy for mental health centres on integrating culturally responsive systems into healthcare. As a ‘lived experience partner’, her work is informed by her personal journey through the mental health system, highlighting the need for greater awareness and communication in this field.

Niharika has been awarded the OAM for her outstanding service to community health, reflecting her generation’s commitment to mental health advocacy.

Sakshi Thakur: Empowering Women through Social Enterprise

Image: Sakshi Thakur OAM (Source: Facebook)

Sakshi Thakur OAM, based in Melbourne, exemplifies the link between empowering women and strengthening communities. Leaving behind a high-profile corporate career, she founded ‘Sewing the Seeds’, a social enterprise that equips women in Puducherry with textile skills, thereby enhancing their family’s quality of life. She also founded Humanism, a social enterprise that creates dignified jobs with humans from marginalised and low-income communities. In 2018, she started Humanism Global to focus her energy and purpose on marginalised women’s needs and aspirations.

Sakshi’s work, which blends economic sustainability with social impact, has earned her the OAM for service to the community through social welfare organisations.

Harinder Kaur: Battling Domestic Violence

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Image: Harinder Kaur (Source: LinkedIn)

In Sydney, Harinder Kaur has made significant strides in addressing domestic and family violence through the Harman Foundation, which she established in 2013. The foundation has assisted over 500 families experiencing violence and runs educational programs aimed at changing community attitudes. The Foundation also provides a variety of grassroots services such as food relief, counselling support, as well as referrals for other services including legal assistance.

Harinder’s efforts have been recognised with the OAM for service to the community through social welfare organisations.

These three exceptional women are among 737 Australians honoured in the King’s Birthday Honours list for 2024.

Image: Governor-General David Hurley

Governor-General David Hurley extended his congratulations to all recipients, noting,

“I would like to congratulate all those recognised in today’s Honours List. Some names are well-known, but the vast majority are not – they are people who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a difference in our community. I have been steadfast that the Order must reflect the diversity of our community – I am pleased by the progress we have made over the last five years.”

This year’s Honours list is notable for achieving gender parity with 49.9% female recipients. Governor-General Hurley, presenting his final Honours list, remarked on the progress made over the past five years towards reflecting the diversity of the Australian community.

The investiture of awards will take place in the coming months, with recipients being honoured by the Governor-General at Government House in Canberra, or by State Governors or the Administrator of the Northern Territory.

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