ChungWah Association community worker, Edie Hoy Poy, was given the Community Services Award for 50 years of service to the migrant community of the state.
Ms Hoy Poy, aged 74, began working for the Chung Wah Association in the 1960s when the White Australia policy was still being implemented.
“I guess being born here, and going through that and seeing what other people had to go through, especially people from non-English speaking backgrounds. And because I was born here and educated here, it was always a motivation for me, unbeknown to me, that I would try and do something to make things a little better. And it progressed from there on.”
Ms Hoy Poy says migrants have enriched the culture and even made Australia a healthier place to live.
“What are they cooking? They¹re cooking with Asian spices. They¹re using the wok. They find that now they don¹t have to use a lot of fat or anything. The tiniest little bit of oil. It¹s all stir-fry, and it contributes to the health of the nation. So to me, this is what the migrants, the contribution that they¹ve made.”
The Chung Wah Association was formed in the early 1900s to give Chinese people a political voice in Western Australia and later became a community outreach organisation.
The Association now offers education through three Chinese schools in Perth as well as extensive support services for the aged and disabled.
Association President, Richard Tan, says the Chung Wah Association is no longer exclusively for Chinese people.
“We are now embracing the Cambodians, the Vietnamese and soon will be other nationalities. I think that¹s one of the most important roles to play, being a bridge between the Chinese community and other nationalities.”