newsCO.com.au–Refugee doctor named NT Aussie of Year

November 15, 2017

One of the nation’s first female paediatric cardiologists has been named 2018 Northern Territory Australian of the Year.

Dr Bo Remenyi received the award in Darwin on Wednesday night for her work to reduce the NT’s rate of rheumatic heart disease, which is currently the highest in the world.

As a political refugee, Dr Remenyi fled Hungary as a teenager. As a junior doctor in remote communities, she was tasked with filling out death certificates for children with the preventable disease.

To address this injustice, she’s worked tirelessly in early detection, diagnosis and treatment and her advocacy has raised awareness both nationally and internationally.

Kevin Kadirgamar, a 28-year-old Sri Lankan refugee and migration lawyer took out the NT Young Australian of the Year title for outstanding pro bono work fighting for kids in indefinite immigration detention.

The NT Multicultural Council President mentors students and junior solicitors and provides free migration advice every month.

The rest of the honours were kept in the family this year, with Kathy Guthadjaka crowned 2018 NT Senior Australian of the Year and her daughter Bettina Danganbarr, 2018 NT Local Hero.

The 69-year-old East Arnhem Land educator and pioneering academic, known as Gotha, created a bilingual educational model that delivered high attendance and graduation rates on Elcho Island.

Since then the Gawa elder has represented Australia at the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Geneva and works as a Yolngu researcher at Charles Darwin University examining language, traditional knowledge, culture and country.

Daughter Bettina has offered her home as a safe haven to dozens of domestic violence victims in her role as an Aboriginal Community Police Officer in the East Arnhem community of Galiwin’ku.

She helped establish the Galiwin’ku Women’s Space, a community-led initiative addressing family violence, and trains other cops to understand Yolgnu culture.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said Territorians’ “overwhelming passion to lend a hand and help others is not only commendable but truly inspirational”.

The winners will head to the national awards in Canberra on January 25 where the Australian of the Year will be announced.

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