Rosie O'Halloran (2003)

In January 2014, the Mayor of the City of Canada Bay awarded Rosie O’Halloran the 2013 Young Citizen of the Year. Rosie was hailed for the 2010 creation of the non-profit ‘foundations. (au)’ that led to the establishment of a children’s home in Uganda, providing vital health and education programs for orphaned and vulnerable children.

In a 2012 article in Our World Today, Rosie described how, inspired by an ABC documentary on Uganda, she put her studies on hold to visit the impoverished nation. After witnessing the debilitating effect that poverty has upon children, Rosie began laying the foundations her non-profit organisation that would enable her to care for and support Uganda’s poverty stricken children.

Foundations.(au) has since partnered with a number of organisations to provide probono assistance to help Rosie and her team of dedicated volunteers understand and maintain the charity’s internal affairs.

The team also holds themed fundraisers each year to maintain a number of the charity’s projects such as Our Place. Our Place, a rental property in the Kabale district, is a safe haven for vulnerable children, where they are raised to be independent individuals who are loved, educated, healthy, respected and valued. Nine children live in the home and a further 13 are supported outside.

To support the children, who are often haunted by a traumatic past, local carers are permanently based at the home to help develop long-term, stable relationships that the children can rely upon.

Rosie stated that they ‘basically just try to be incredibly patient and understanding and let the children dictate their level of adapting, to let them show more of their personality when they’re ready. We do a lot of art therapy at the home, as well as story telling and sharing.’

Rosie is currently in the process of designing a centre for social change with the Launceston Research Assistance Center, creating development programs for young African ‘change makers’ and maintaining health and education programs in rural government primary schools.

Rosie is happy to commit herself to those less fortunate, suggesting that a positive attitude and a supportive social network are what keeps her going.

At the end of the article, Rosie quoted Sarah Ban Breathnach, ‘The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers, but above all the world needs dreamers who do.’ Rosie has no doubt that her generation ‘believes that change is possible and we’re not afraid to take action on issues that matter.’