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Celebrating a fair go for all, Daljit (Kaur) Rao receives a Pride of Australia medal
The Pride of Australia Medal celebrates the unsung heroes of the community, recognising and rewarding the nation’s most outstanding members of the public.
During a five week nomination period, nominations are received across ten categories, including Child of Courage, Outstanding Bravery, Inspiration, Fair Go, Heroism, Courage, Young Leader, Environment, Care and Compassion and Community Spirit.
A panel of judges in each state and territory select three finalists per category from all nominations received during the nomination period.
Once these finalists are announced, the state has the opportunity to vote for their most deserving medallist across all categories in the Pride of Australia People’s Choice Medal.
This year, Daljit (Kaur) Rao of Adelaide was nominated for the Pride of Australia medal in the Fair Go category and won the People’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Daljit!
Arriving in Adelaide from Fiji as a 14-year-old in 1974, I am sure Daljit was filled with all the emotions of a teenager asked to move from the familiarity of her school, her friends, relatives and old haunts.
The tenuous excitement of moving to Australia was dampened when she discovered that her English was very different to what was spoken here!
Sensitive to not only language and cultural issues, but also the problems facing new migrants, young Daljit dreamt of one day having her own business that would assist newly arrived migrants from all walks of life and ensure they were not being disadvantaged owing to English language, and to find ways to equip them with employability skills.
Today she has done just that, establishing two organisations in 2013.
Visionplanet Australia was set up for counselling and guiding students in their pathway education to achieve a successful outcome.
Simultaneously PEAR (Professional Education Academic Requirement) was established to prepare overseas students and migrants for study in Australia. English/IELTS and OET preparation advice was also provided for professionals to attain registration and gain appropriate employability skills by acquiring language proficiency, understanding Australian work culture and social integration.
For the past 13 years, Daljit has assisted migrants turn their dream of studying and working in Australia into a reality.
Along the way, she has become a positive role model to many. Her Pride of Australia profile states, ‘With a passion and commitment to pass on the skills that stood her in good stead, Daljit wants to ensure that today’s migrants are better prepared and have greater access to information and resources than she did nearly 40 years ago.’
At the elegant Medal Ceremony on 23 September, Daljit said she was absolutely overwhelmed at winning the People’s Choice Award which is not just what the judges decide but is voted for by the people of South Australia.
She feels very proud that it is a recognition by the people. She also attempted to explain to Indian Link very genuinely how she “want(s) to add value in the community…that is by developing, working with the people to help them integrate into society here”.
She hopes to do this by running courses for students and migrants who come from India and other countries to not only learn English literacy, but all aspects of the language.
Daljit feels strongly, fluency in English requires not just basic reading, writing, speaking skills but doing it the Australian way.
Especially speaking and understanding local colloquialisms, the jokes, the mannerisms and taking an interest in the topics locals are interested in. “It is very hard to change our accent,” she says, “But not so hard to change our attitude.”
She feels our attempt to improve our language skills should not be limited to a certain score in IELTS or OET but include non-verbal communication, social skills, etiquette, our conduct in various situations like interviews, workplace, work parties, etc.
All these would help us integrate into our new country better, not just language literacy skills.
Daljit’s vision for the future is “to help our people with language and help them settle in”.
She believes that our people need guidance to choose the right academic path, change attitudes, acquire the non-verbals to communicate better which would all help them integrate quicker in society here.
These would break the barriers in settling down and make life much more