Selina’s mission to help Aussies battling drought

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Selina Win Pe toured regional Australia to find her new purpose.

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SIX months ago, on the fourth anniversary of the Lindt Cafe siege, I held a tribute in Mosman to honour victims Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson.

I yearned to serve my country and find a way to thank all Australians for their support. I knew if I pulled through my darkest night, I would one day come through to share light and love with others.

I made a promise to find a way to help in a way that every single Australian could support.

Over the years I, like many Australians, felt helpless and unsure of how to help our country communities facing drought.

Twelve months ago, I heard of the heart break of a farmer who sold his prized and very expensive cattle, to feed his family and save his farm. Friends and community rallied around him in support and lifted his spirits.

I knew that this would evolve into my purpose.

In March, I decided to get in my car and go see the land for myself; get acquainted with communities and let what I would hear, see and feel shape my purpose.

I spent three months travelling the Greater Central West, Riverina and South West Slopes of NSW.

I called upon wonderful country mayors, meeting them in person miles away from home. I revelled in their communities; finding hope and strength in the surrounding nature, farms, animals and kids I’d see on my journey waving a big ‘hello’.

I travelled over 8000km and in between trips took solace back in Mosman.

Like a puzzle coming to life, the lessons I learned on these trips led me towards a mission of hope and healing, for me and these communities of incredible hard working farmers, their families and communities who make such an effort every single day, no matter the condition of their livelihood and life.

In a ‘meant to be moment’ I met the CEO of Rural Aid Australia Charles Alder.

Having spent time with Charles, I identified the programs I would get behind.

The Buy A Bale Program — a fodder assistance program to help feed livestock. Our hay drops have kept cattle alive, water has been delivered to farmers and financial assistance provided.

The Gift of Music Program — designed to bring joy to children in rural and remote areas through donated musical instruments for music programs.

On June 1, I launched a new website (www.selinwinpe.com.au) and made a personal pledge to raise $1 million for charity.

On June 7, at the Boots & Black Tie Ball Rural Aid Fundraiser, I donated $10,700 of my own savings.

A week after my website went live, I was personally invited by Charles and Tracy Alder to be an official Rural Aid ambassador.

My role will be to promote Rural Aid’s programs by initiating conversations around resilience, courage, mental health wellbeing and one’s sense of community, stemming from my own experiences.

I feel I have found a calling true to my faith and tests endured and the strength I have been looking for.

I look forward to a long and successful journey ahead with the charity and making a real difference to peoples’ lives.

Mosman’s Selina Win Pe survived the Lindt Cafe siege in 2014 and has dedicated her life to helping first the families of the victims and now, Australians facing hardships in regional areas.