Excellence in humanitarianism
Kathryn Irwin attended Caboolture State High School from 1991 to 1995 achieving Academic Awards at each Year Level. In her Senior year, Kate was treasurer of the Student Council and a member of the Debating Team. In 2000, she graduated from the University of Queensland with a double degree in Arts/Law and took up a position as a solicitor in commercial law.
In 2006, Kate joined a study tour to Donetsk in the Ukraine, where she taught English and ran activities for the local children. On returning to Australia, Kate decided that she would like to continue this work of serving others. In August 2009, she went to Benin in Africa where she worked on the Africa Mercy Ship. These ships are medical ships, providing free medical procedures for the poorest of the poor. Kate was in charge of food distribution, washed dishes and worked in the dining room. She also took time to visit local agricultural projects and visited orphanages.
In October 2009, Kate went to Bahir Dar in Ethiopia where she worked at the Grace Centre for Children and Families which provides day care and medical assistance for single parents so that they have the opportunity to keep their family intact rather than giving up children for adoption. Kate assisted with finance and reports and also ran activities with the children in day care. Over the next five years, apart from brief visits home to Australia, Kate worked at Grace, principally in office administration ensuring legal, financial and reporting aspects were in order to meet Ethiopian, Australian and US requirements. She also developed preschool programmes in both English and the Ethiopian Amharic language. A further focus was working with children growing up in prisons where their mothers were incarcerated.
Since returning to Australia, Kate has been involved in fundraising and awareness raising, speaking at a number of events and locations.