Restoring smiles has its rewards

Restoring smiles has its rewards

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Australia Day Ambassador Brian Greedy with the Citizen of the Year award winner Pamela Govender and City of Gosnells mayor David Goode.

A local woman’s outstanding work with some of the community’s most vulnerable people was recognised in this year’s Citizenship Awards.

Southern River resident Pamela Govender received the Community Citizen of the Year award for 2020.

Ms Govender is the founder of Restore a Smile foundation, which is a not-for-profit organisation that that has been set up to help people move from crisis situations to stability.

She also provides assistance to Indigenous students to complete tertiary certificates in business.

“Winning this award to me is just absolutely phenomenal,” she said.

“I didn’t expect it, but this is just inspiration to keep going on the road we’ve been heading down, and trying to make the next 12 months the best 12 months we’ve ever had.”

In 2019 Ms Govender and her team had distributed almost 1500 hygiene packs for women in need to provide them with the means to manage a much safer menstrual cycle.

“I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without a team of passionate people that
live their lives on purpose,” she said.

“I am also so grateful to the City of Gosnells for recognising the amazing work that our team does.”

The award winner also has a soft spot for refugees and immigrants and continues to organise street ‘meet and greets’ to support and accustom them to life in Australia.

As an immigrant herself Ms Govender said she understands their situation but doesn’t like to compare as she actually made the choice to leave her family and home behind when she came to Australia.

“Many of them have experienced trauma, face language barriers and may not have the support of family or community in Australia,” she said.

“Refugees are forced to leave their country because they are at risk, they have made their way here for a better life for their families.

“These are qualities to be admired and I believe that everyone deserves dignity and fair treatment.”

Last but no least Ms Govender said she will continue to find better ways for disadvantaged communities to feel empowered and be able to help themselves in the future.