2021 Zonta Award recipient – Sehnil Nawar

2021 Year 12 Graduate, Sehnil Nawar, was recently awarded the Young Women in Public Affairs Award for the Ballarat region. The award recognises young women for their commitment to volunteerism, volunteer leadership achievements and dedication to empowering women worldwide.

During her final year at Clarendon, Sehnil volunteered her time to numerous organisations including the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council Homework Club and Nazareth House. She was also a member of the school’s Sustainability Committee and Reconciliation Action Plan.

“I was honoured to be a nominee for this award which embodies a spirit of altruism and service,” said Sehnil. “I’m very grateful to the Zonta Club of Ballarat for this incredible opportunity and I think the award is important for our community in encouraging and supporting young women in public service.”

Outside of the school grounds, Sehnil was a member for her local climate action organisation which saw her take on a speaking role in the last student rally, joining young individuals across Australia in speaking up about the climate crisis and our country’s current standpoint. This crossed over into her co-ordinator role on the Clarendon Sustainability Committee, where her primary focus was to address key school policies and procedures that have the potential to be more eco-friendly, finding ways to integrate sustainability into more parts of the curriculum and raising awareness of climate-related issues.

Being a part of the school’s Reconciliation Action Plan in its early stages saw Sehnil champion reconciliation efforts between First Nations people and non-Indigenous people within and beyond the school environment. This, she believes, was equally important as her involvement with other initiatives in and outside of Clarendon.

“I’ve also been collaborating with family members back in Bangladesh to establish schools for underprivileged children and teens from disadvantaged communities,” said Sehnil. “This has been an invaluable chance to empower and uplift young people back in Bangladesh.”

“After I finish my exams, I am hoping to work on material for these educational programs with my focus being the promotion of personal hygiene, nutrition, exercise, good mental health and comprehensive sex and reproductive education. I’ll also be holding classes to help bolster their proficiency in English.”

It is clear that Sehnil’s determination to better the world and disadvantaged communities extends much further than the opportunities she’s been presented at Clarendon. Rather, she has seized these opportunities and looked beyond her time at school as to how she can continue to make a difference on a local and global scale.

“I hope to keep doing work that empowers others and advocate for tangible change, both in Australia and other places around the world,” said Sehnil. “Although 2021 was a difficult year to navigate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my community work kept me focused on the bigger picture.”

Congratulations to Sehnil on receiving the Zonta Award for Young Women in Public Affairs. We are so proud of you and look forward to seeing where your future leads.