NSW Young Australian of the Year – Tara Winkler

November 25, 2010 Agencies
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The NSW Young Australian of the Year 2011 is 25 year old orphan rescuer Tara Winkler, who has been recognised for her inspirational work in saving orphan children in Cambodia.

Tara plays for the children

At just 24, Tara changed her entire life after a holiday to Cambodia where she was deeply moved by the suffering of children she encountered at a run-down orphanage in Battambang. The experience convinced her to leave a budding career in film and her home in Vaucluse, Sydney to return to Cambodia and help the children she has met. After discovering the abuse the children were being subjected to, she set up the Cambodian Children’s Trust and her own orphanage in just two weeks. Battambang’s Governor and government authorities gave her team full support to remove the children from the former orphanage and re-house them. She is now ‘mother’ to 27 orphans, some as young as two, and employs a nurse, local director, social worker and cook.

Tara intends to transform the orphanage into a sustainable eco-village and plans to spend five years and $2 million introducing development projects that will enable the orphanage to support itself. Her designs include buying a 40-hectare plot to establish a plantation as well as a fruit, vegetable and herb permaculture garden. A medical facility, animal clinic, education program and English school are in the works. Against huge odds, Tara is changing the lives of some of Cambodia’s most neglected children.

Cambodians witnessed genocide within their own community. Tara Winkler grandmother is a Holocaust survivor and Tara has spent many hours by her side listening to the stories of the Shoah. Now she is working to bring joy to another community whose hopes and dreams were shattered by a later genocide.

Tara told J-Wire: “It’s a great honour to be recognised among a group of such remarkable Australians. I’m immensely grateful for the award and the awareness that it brings to the Cambodian Children’s Trust (CCT). The work I’m doing with Cambodian orphans, as well as vulnerable children and families within the wider community, couldn’t be done without the dedication of CCT’s local staff and the unwavering support and generosity of so many wonderful Australians.”


2 Responses to “NSW Young Australian of the Year – Tara Winkler”
  1. safiya says:

    Tara you have changed me with your courage. Im twice your age and only just realised what i want to do with my life. i hope to meet you in march after the 24th. i would love to meet you and pick your brains on how to set up a house for the children like you have. i just wish there were people around like you when i was a scared child. thank god you managed to save those little children from that monster. there are no words to describe how i feel about you and what you have done. God bless you Safiya xxx

  2. william Bryant says:

    Tara Winkler, I am husband to Cambodian refugee Chhunnet Heang who lived in Battambang Cambodia and escaped the Pol Pot regime in 1979. My wife and I saw the documentary on tv of how you are helping to set up an orphanage in Battambang. I have been there and seen what you saw, the extreme poverty, sickness and the orphans begging in rags.
    You are to be commended for your efforts dismantling the old orphanage and setting up your own.
    I have told my wife that when she visits Battambang (possible next year), that she will come to visit you and make a donation.
    Congradulations on becoming NSW Young Australian of the Year 2011
    I would like to meet you and shake your hand, for what you have done is truly wonderful.You make me very proud to be an Aussie. Keep up the good work.

    William Bryant

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