Seema Keezhil wins 2015 Governor’s Multicultural Award
The Indian community in Adelaide rejoiced when, late in March, Seema Keezhil won an award at the 2015 Governor’s Multicultural Awards.
She took home the Community Sector Award (Individual Category).
The event was hosted by His Excellency, the Honourable Hieu Van Le AO, Governor of South Australia, in the grounds of Government House.
Seema works as an Admin Officer at SA Police (SAPOL) and discovered that her superior at work had nominated her for her active involvement with the Indian community and SA Police.
Seema is a well-known voice on Indian community radio in Adelaide. She has been a volunteer on this purely voluntary service broadcasting on 103.1 FM – 5EBI for the last 15 years! Recently she initiated a Crime Prevention series where a SAPOL Officer talks about various safety aspects of life such as personal safety, home safety, home assist program, online safety, holidays safety, water safety, drink and drug driving, recruiting etc. Four episodes have been aired so far with Senior Constable Jagmohan Malhi. This has been very well received in the community and Seema’s dedication and professionalism with this task greatly impressed the management at SAPOL.
Seema is a member of SAPOL’s Women’s Focus Group and SAPOL’s Transit Watch program. She also assisted and acted in SAPOL’s Taxi Watch DVD.
Currently she is Vice President of Adelaide & Metropolitan Malayalee Association Inc. (AMMA). She is the first female Vice-President of this organisation. Her first task was to form a ladies section, called “Vanitha Wing” for the female members of the Malayalee community aged 16 years and over, to come together for 2-3 hours, share some leadership and motivational qualities in a very fun filled environment. A SAPOL lady officer, Sergeant Jo Mareolas, was invited to talk to the group on personal safety for ladies at this group as well.
The Multicultural Awards celebrate South Australians who promote multiculturalism and increase understanding of the benefits of cultural diversity in our community. And Seema definitely does that.
“When the nominees in my category were announced, I could feel the butterflies in my stomach,” Seema told Indian Link.
“When my name was called as one of the winners, I was so happy and nervous, I could hardly stand! I don’t know how I made it to the stage but then the Governor bowed and said ‘Namaste’ and I was thrilled! It made all my nervousness disappear and I was just extremely happy!”
One could feel her joy and excitement, her humility and gratitude at being appreciated for the work she has been doing with no thought of any returns.
Seema immigrated to Australia in 1998 from Kerala. She settled with her husband in Adelaide and has since raised two children here. Her son is a gifted soccer player and her daughter is a very good dancer, among other things. Seema herself sings like a nightingale in many Indian languages. Her renditions of patriotic or sad songs often bring tears to the eyes, but her forte is happy, foot-tapping Bollywood numbers.
Over the past 17 years, Seema has voluntarily participated in various multicultural events run by City of Charles Sturt Council and Hilton Council, as well as many events at her local Cheltenham Community Centre. And these, of course, are not including involvement in Indian community events. She has been involved in conducting and organising various events of many Indian associations in Adelaide, AMMA, IAASA, ATA, Rasik Ranjini, Shruthi Adelaide, ABC, ICR etc. We have enjoyed seeing and hearing her on stage as an MC and a singer.
Much as I would like to talk about her beautiful voice and absolutely delightful singing, it is her service activities that we don’t know much about which should take precedence here. Seema’s selfless work for several charitable causes like Tsunami fundraiser, Pakistan flood relief fundraiser, Women’s and Children’s Hospital fundraiser etc have not gone unnoticed. She has also done voluntary work at her local kindergarten and her children’s school where she is also on the Governing Council.
Having taught Hindi at WEA for many years, Seema now conducts classes in conversational Hindi at an Indian prayer group and Cheltenham Community Centre for members of the public.
With a full-time job and two teenage children, how does she find time for all this? Seema said it is just the way she is. She likes to get involved and her husband and children support her all the way. They get involved in the issues dear to them or participate in community events too.
“If you want to give back to the community or help others, there are plenty of ways to do it. Just get involved in the littlest thing you are interested in, or help someone in need in any way you can. I don’t think anyone does community work for awards or accolades. Even if you don’t receive acknowledgement in any way, remember that the person you helped, will always remember it and be grateful. Be grateful for all the things, big and small, that you receive as well.”
Seema is grateful for all the opportunities that she has been given and the encouragement and support she has received from family and friends.
“And when you do receive an acknowledgement, either as an award this big or from an individual expressing thanks, it all feels really worthwhile.”