[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]JBM Annual Report 2011-2012

Chairperson’s Report Dr Naomi Ngo

It is with great pleasure that I present the inaugural John Byrne Memorial (JBM) Annual Report for the financial year of 2011‑2012. Since the JBM has become an incorporated association, the JBM Executive Committee has agreed to replace our annual newsletter with an annual report. It is envisaged that this will bring our reporting activities in line with other incorporated associations.

The 2011-2012 JBM Annual Report also serves as a record of the key highlights and achievements as we reflect on our previous year’s work. I am proud to present this Annual Report and to share with you examples of the JBM’s achievements.

In celebrating the work undertaken by the JBM, I would like to pay tribute to all our passionate committee members who have generously given their time to continue the work of our beloved friend, colleague and family member – John Byrne.

Executive Committee Members

  • Naomi Ngo (Chairperson)
  • Annette Byrne-Phillips (Secretary)
  • Denis Grant (Treasurer)
  • Carmel Guerra
  • Peter Phillips
  • Mark Walsh
  • Judy Cain.

Scholarship Committee Members

  • Naomi Ngo (Chairperson)
  • Annette Byrne-Phillips (Secretary)
  • May Spyropoulos (Western English Language School)
  • Leah White (Maribyrnong Secondary School)
  • Judy Cain
  • Peter Phillips

On behalf of the JBM Executive Committee, I also wish to thank everyone who generously supported the JBM during the year, as well as extend our thanks to the following sponsors and individuals:

  • Centre for Multicultural Youth
  • Zeccola family and Kino Cinemas
  • Roz Dermondy
  • iCmotion
  • Daniel Reeders
  • Vu Do from Mr. Pony
  • Norman & Lee Palumbo from Just Planet
  • Janis Webb

JBM Scholarships

Every year the JBM awards two scholarships to students studying in the Western Region of Melbourne – a tertiary scholarship for someone studying at Victoria University (VU) and a secondary scholarship for a student at Maribyrnong Secondary College. These scholarships are made available to assist young people from low income families who are new arrivals to Australia from a refugee or asylum-seeker background. The VU selection process occurs mid-year for use in the following year, while Maribyrnong Secondary College awards its scholarship at the end of the school year for the following academic year.

Victoria University (VU)

The VU Scholarship recipient was Mr Amanuel Abraham who was chosen by the VU Scholarship Selection Panel from a total of 25 applicants. He arrived in Australia in 2008 from Eritrea and holds a Permanent Humanitarian Visa. Mr Abraham is currently enrolled on a full time basis in a Diploma in Laboratory Technician. He completed the first year of this course with an average of High Distinctions (scores in the 90s) and received the scholarship funding at the beginning of 2012 to complete the second year of his Diploma. Mr Abraham was also offered mentoring assistance through the JBM.

Maribyrnong Secondary College

Leroy Kandea, a student in Year 11 was awarded the John Byrne Memorial Scholarship. Leroy is a refugee from Liberia and has lived in various refugee camps since 2002. He has been described by his teacher as a diligent, hard-working student who shows a determination to learn and achieve.

In Leroy’s JBM scholarship nomination form, he wrote:

The war and hatred between members of the society in Liberia took us from place to place that were safe and peaceful. The war took me and my family to the refugee camp in Guinea. We went to the camp March 2002. The living condition at the camp was very hard for us especially because we couldn’t understand the culture, the language of Guinean and also their way of life. My family struggled from farm to farm, working to earn some money to buy food.

Life was quite difficult for me at the camp because I couldn’t speak the language and for that reason I had no education. I was just at the camp volunteering to work for different people to find food at the end.

My family went through a lot of difficult situation in order to improve our living condition. They struggle by all means to find us food and buy us clothes to wear. We were affected by different kinds of diseases and illnesses, which we had no medical attention at that time in the camp.

This scholarship is going to help me complete my study. This scholarship is a great help to me in the completion of my school. This scholarship is also a great help to me and my family because they had difficulty buying my school materials and paying my school fee. I’m willing to undertake any necessary decision to maintain this great opportunity.

Memoranda of Understanding

The Memoranda of Understanding with each of our scholarship partners – VU and Maribyrnong Secondary College – came up for renewal at the end of 2011 after their two-year period expired. Upon consideration of the fit between criteria for scholarship selection and the demographics of our partner organisations, and the outstanding cooperation we have had from each institution, it was decided to renew our Memoranda of Understanding for another two years.

Financial Assistance

As in the past, the JBM allocated $1,000 to the Western English Language School to assist disadvantaged students to pay for educational costs for which they are ineligible for support from other sources. This funding is often used to purchase public transport tickets so students can attend classes. In the past twelve months, four six-monthly travel tickets were purchased and given to four students in secondary schools and tertiary institutions in the Western suburbs of Melbourne.

Fundraising Events

Movie Afternoon

When selecting films for our fundraising we try to find something with a theme that links with John’s sense of social justice or his concern for newly arrived refugees and migrants. The story of Aung San Suu Kyi as depicted in “The Lady” had elements of both. Known worldwide for her defiant stance against a corrupt regime in Burma the film tells of her calling to become the core of Burma’s democracy movement and her relationship with her husband, writer Michael Aris. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end and provides the strength Aung San Suu Kyi needs to stand in solidarity with her people.

“Out of deep darkness your little lamp has shone across the planet: your stillness has moved the world”.   Oxford University citation June 2012

As in the past the support provided by the Kino allowed us to host a very successful event with refreshments in their newly refurbished bar and a viewing in the comfort of their spacious theatre. Thanks to all those who came to the movie afternoon in April. We raised a total of $2,125, including donations received on the day.

Birthday Celebrations

Since the John Byrne Memorial was established in 2006 one of its regular supporters has been his mother, Elvie. Ever the centre of her large family’s happenings with her bright smile and interest in each family member, she generously extended her circle to include John’s friends and colleagues. She became a warm presence at our functions where her ability to meet and greet reminded us of John’s hospitality and goodness. Elvie celebrated her 90th birthday on 9th June 2012 and invited guests to contribute to JBM in place of personal gifts. We thank her and her family and friends who donated a total of $550.00.

The JBM also received a generous donation of $700 from Ms Di Missen. Di was a good friend of John’s and in lieu of birthday presents asked her friends to donate to the JBM. The Executive Committee would like to thank her for this gesture and to her many friends for their contributions. This donation will be used to continue our work with disadvantaged refugee young people living in the western suburbs.

JBM Profile

At the end of 2011 the Executive Committee decided to develop a profile document that could be sent to potential donors, especially corporate donors, who might consider making a one-off donation. The result is a four page pamphlet providing information about the organization, its purpose and a rationale encouraging people to support our cause. Potential donors are assured that our funds are managed by State Trustees Australia Foundation and informed that a donation of $1,000 is enough to provide financial assistance to one student for a year and $500 could contribute to yearly travel tickets.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]