Four years on from the terror of the Lindt Cafe siege, survivor Selina Win Pe threw herself head-long into a search for meaning.
After hearing about the impact the drought was having on our region’s farmers, she decided to climb into her car, leave her home in Mosman and get to work learning as much as she could about the stories of endurance and hardship farmers across the country were experiencing.
During her visit to Dubbo last week, Ms Win Pe met with locals and mayor Ben Shields to discuss the drought.
“I had to work really hard over the last four years to feel any sense of community or belonging, I had to rebuild all my trust,” Ms Win Pe said.
“With the support I’d received around Australia, I wanted to say thank you, but I wanted to do it in a positive way that made a difference in the lives of other people.”
“Like many, many Australians, particularly those living in the city, I really wanted to make a different to the lives of people after hearing about the drought.”
Inspiration struck for Ms Win Pe after she read about a cattle farmer who had been forced to sell his prized stock in order to keep food on his family’s table.
“I started thinking ‘how would that impact your home life, your children, your well-being, your happiness’, and then by the end of last year I really wanted to say goodbye to the siege and the hold it had on me,” Ms Win Pe said.
“I’ve always had this will and desire to keep on and just keep going, and I deeply admire the qualities of our farmers, and these communities that keep going, for all of us.”
Ms Win Pe started by meeting with mayors in larger cities in the Central West, before travelling on to other towns and farms in the region.
In her first round trip of rural communities, she travelled nearly 8000km.
Then, a chance encounter with Rural Aid Australia CEO Charlie Adler offered her the opportunity to become an ambassador for Rural Aid’s drought assistance programs.
Following that, and with her newfound understanding, Ms Win Pe has made a personal pledge to raise $1 million for the charity, while also providing other resources like water to towns in crisis.
“I started to get a real sense of the plight of our farmers and I just wanted to help,” Ms Win Pe said.
Even in the past month alone, Ms Win Pe says she’s found a new sense of community, and a reinvigorated feeling of faith after learning from farmers and drought-stricken families.
“The reaction and support has been phenomenal, I’m so blessed too because it has give me a lifeline to live, and it’s giving me a purpose that is simply about helping others.”
The article’s credit is for the source: Daily Liberal