Rural Women’s Award win for WA​ philanthropist | Photos

Rural Women’s Award win for Western Australian community leader Tanya Dupagne


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A WA innovator and a SA's George the Farmer co-creator recognised at national Rural Women's Award night.

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2017 National Rural Women's Award winner Tanya Dupagne and runner up Simone Kain.

2017 National Rural Women's Award winner Tanya Dupagne and runner up Simone Kain.

Innovator and philanthropist Tanya Dupagne has been named the 2017 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National winner and George The Farmer creator Simone Kain, the national runner up.

The announcement was made in Parliament House, Canberra, tonight.

Ms Dupagne, from Western Australia’s wheatbelt, will receive a $10,000 bursary from Westpac (adding to the $10,000 bursary she received as the WA state winner) to further progress her winning project - a camp program to support women from regional WA to develop their leadership skills and capacity - plus also assist with speaking engagements as the national winner.

Ms Dupagne is the director at Camp Kulin – a program which sees hundreds of volunteers contribute to improving the lives of WA children by teaching them life skills, leadership and self-confidence. Camp Kulin also provides scholarships for those affected by childhood trauma or facing emotional challenges.

The 2017 national runner up Simone Kain, from South Australia, will be building on her successful ‘George the Farmer’ stories and educational resources about life on the land by creating three new educational children’s resources, focusing on the wide and varied careers that are possible in agriculture, and featuring her other popular character Dr Ruby, a talented agronomist.

Ms Dupagne said she was thankful for the opportunity offered by the award. 

“It just shows that even in an isolated location like Kulin, you can make a difference,” Ms Dupagne said.

“The award bursary will allow me to really ramp up the women’s camp pilot program. This program will target women living and working in rural and regional areas, providing personal development and leadership skills training to increase their self-esteem and equip them to take on leadership roles and initiate change in their own communities.”

Ms Dupagne ran camp and youth activity programs for at risk children all over the world before she established Camp Kulin four years ago.

“I had to resort to Google maps to find the location of Kulin when a resident first called and invited me to visit in 2013,” Ms Dupagne said.

“When I saw the incredible accommodation, pools, water slide and grounds of Camp Kulin sitting empty in WA’s wheatbelt, 280km south-east of Perth, I promptly told friends, family and colleagues I was moving.”

Now, under Ms Dupagne’s guidance, hundreds of volunteers contribute to improving the lives of WA children by teaching them life skills, leadership and self-confidence. Camp Kulin also provides scholarships for those affected by childhood trauma or facing emotional challenges.

“There are huge opportunities in rural and regional Australia, and not just in traditional agricultural industries.

“I’m really excited to help spread the word about the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, which provides women like me with so many opportunities.”

John Harvey, AgriFutures Australia managing director, congratulated Ms Dupagne and says her impact on the volunteers and participants at Camp Kulin, as well as the Kulin community, was an example of leadership at its best.

“Tanya is a true example of everything the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award stands for. She has the drive and the capacity to create real change and has also innovated to create a completely new industry for the wheatbelt, which in turn will support other rural and regional businesses in the supply chain,” Mr Harvey said.

The 2017 national runner up, Ms Kain will be building on her successful ‘George the Farmer’ stories and educational resources about life on the land.

Ms Kain identified a lack of children’s books addressing life on the land in Australia and got to work creating three new educational children’s resources, focusing on the wide and varied careers that are possible in agriculture.

They feature George the Farmer and her other popular character Dr Ruby, a talented agronomist.

Online applications for the 2018 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award open on Thursday, September 14 at www.agrifutures.com.au/rwa and close on Sunday, October 29.

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