SALE resident Kerryn Vaughan has been nominated in the first ever Fred Awards, which recognise everyday humanitarianism in Australia.
The Fred Awards celebrate people who care for others in a decent, practical, and no-nonsense way, like Fred Hollows did.
Kerryn said she was “very surprised” to hear the news.
She began her humanitarian journey in Africa after a teacher contacted her to ask where he could buy her book Magnificent Kids.
“My book was about 23 superheroes from around the world who had started world-changing projects before the age of 18, and they inspired me because they were so young,” Kerryn said.
“That is when I asked myself ‘why aren’t I doing more?’.”
From then on Kerryn was dedicated to helping school children in Africa, and founded the global organisation One Planet Classrooms, which facilitates projects such as clean water solutions and student sponsorship programs, in schools and communities in Africa.
“We had 45 African schools enrolled in two weeks to join a school program, and that was the start of One Planet Classrooms in 2015,” Kerryn said.
Since then, Kerryn’s organisation has been involved with a number of projects in African schools focused on improving the lives of girls and women.
Projects include installing water tanks, pipes and solar power systems, supplying essential items, building and repairing houses and classrooms, and setting up women’s empowerment and student sponsorship programs.
“I wanted to help girls and women in particular because it occurred to me that there’s a gender gap,” Kerryn said.
Nominated by Simone Bowers for her inspirational work empowering women and girls in Gippsland and developing countries, Kerryn strives to make a difference.
“Kerryn is a selfless woman who continually strives to raise awareness and funds for communities and individuals in need,” Simone said.
“Her work ethic is undeniably based on honesty and integrity.
“Kerryn is incredibly humble and doesn’t seek recognition for her role in improving the lives of others less fortunate.
“She is a published author, founder of One Planet Classrooms, co-founder and director of Girls With Hammers, author, speaker and facilitator of Get Off The Bench, and a community engagement advisor with One More Generation,” Simone said.
“And in her rare ‘spare’ time, Kerryn is a singer-songwriter and delights in bringing happiness into the lives of others.”