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Awarded for service to Multicultural Affairs
Entered on roll: 2013
Sheer determination has enabled Kim to succeed where others have not.
The vision and persistence of Kim Phong, one of the original 'boat people' who arrived in Australia from Vietnam in 1979, has contributed enormously to the Tasmanian community.
Kim initially settled in Sydney working seven days a week in factories to repay the debt incurred through the perilous boat journey to Australia.
Kim moved to Hobart in 1995 and began work as an interpreter in Chinese and Vietnamese languages. In 1996 the Migrant Resource Centre employed Kim as a day care assistant with elderly Chinese clients.
When Kim discovered Hobart had a thriving Chinese Community Association, she became a committee member and soon became the Association's newsletter editor. The editing involved many hours of careful translation from English to Chinese, as well as the newsletters production and distribution.
In 1997 Kim was determined that the Chinese Community Association would auspice a new Chinese language school; despite knowing that previous efforts to establish such a school in Hobart had been unsuccessful. This school, with financial assistance from the Department of Education, has proven to be successful having grown from 27 to 70 students. The school offers classes from Kindergarten to Grade 6.
The Chinese language school is an ongoing commitment for Kim who regularly volunteers her time. Kim has also built supportive links with the Chinese Government and Chinese Embassy, which provide textbooks and other resources. The People's Republic of China also enables Hobart's Chinese school teachers access to annual language training workshops in China.
Since 1996 Kim has been instrumental in the Migrant Resource Centre's community development programs by creating bilingual written and spoken services for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Kim was the driving force in setting up the Migrant Resource Centre's Chinese Community Aged Care Packages and the weekly Home and Community Care Chinese Day Centre.
Kim graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts and is a Justice of the Peace.