Customer and Aboriginal community icon Barbara recieving a Rotary Club Shine On Award

Community Award for community icon

by KinCare — 6 September 2021

Congratulations to our Customer and Aboriginal community icon Barbara, who was recently awarded a Rotary Club Shine On Award for her service to the community.

Barbara is a Tjupan, Noongar, Badimia and Martu Aboriginal Elder who grew up in the Leonora region of Western Australia. She’s been a KinCare Customer since 2018 and loves helping her Aboriginal community understand the aged care system and get the support they need.

While receiving the Rotary Award came as a complete surprise to Barbara who says she’s never been nominated for anything, the determination to succeed has long been a character trait of the respected Elder.

After starting work at a very young age, Barbara caught the study bug in 1986 when she was living in Perth. From 1986-1994 she knuckled down and completed a Bachelor’s Degree, despite what teachers thought she could achieve.

“My teachers at primary school told me I’d come to nothing. When someone tells me I can’t do something, it just makes me want to do it more – I got As and A+’s in all my first exams,” Barbara says.

When she became ill in 2014, that same determination kept Barbara focused on her recovery. Confined to a wheelchair that a doctor told her she wouldn’t get out of, Barbara learned about health, sought alternative opinions and worked on her exercise. This year, despite the odds, she threw her “wheelie away”.

It was while she was experiencing her own illness that Barbara started helping other people.

“I realised that many people in my community didn’t know how things like the aged care system worked and so I would talk for them and get people signed up,” she explains.

Barbara is now a member of numerous groups and committees, helping people get the help they need. “I love the people I work with. Everyone now knows me as Aunty Barb and I’ve adopted a whole lot of new aunties and uncles. It reminds me of how I grew up. I straddled both worlds, learning bush medicine and how to catch a kangaroo one day, but going to school in Perth during the week.”

Congratulations Barbara and keep up the good work!