Filipino-Australian community leader and radio host Josefina 'Josie' Musa received a top accolade last month from the NSW government. Cez Lapuz, who was with Josie when she received the award, recounts the events proceedings. 

It was a morning full of surprises. Arriving at the NSW Parliament House an hour early of the scheduled 9.30 am start was a good relief. We had time to check out what the event was about and have a look around at the people arriving. We were looking for our name badges when we realised the Josie (Josefina Musa) didn’t have a badge on the list where I found mine. Upon asking the gentleman manning the registration table, he mentioned that Josie’s badge is in the special table and proceeded in congratulating her for the honour.

Hmmm, we looked at each other unsure about what he meant and went on the table with Josie’s badge was supposed to be …. such a wonderful surprise! The badge states Josefina Musa was awarded NSW Woman of the Year 2015 for Riverstone. Such an honour to be selected together with the wonderful women across NSW on different field and affiliations. 

She was nominated by Kevin Conolly, Member for Riverstone. Below is an excerpt from the Awards Program: 

Josie is a community radio host and has spearheaded the Adhika Inc, a non-profit association for the Filipino-Australian community. Josie’s work has helped raise awareness of the 12,000 nurses of Filipino heritage who work in Australia.

Adhika Inc, spearheaded the inaugural FAN (Filipino Australian Nurses) Awards held March 2014. This event recognises the significant achievements and contribution of Filipino Nurses in Australia. 

Josie’s award was acknowledged by ECC NSW through their newsletter which was released the day after the event and by Ms Jesusa Helaratne, Media Manager of NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS) and below are excerpts of their emails:

“You’ve done great work in your community so you deserved to be mentioned in the ECC NSW newsletter”, says Peter Doukas, ECC-NSW Chair.

“The NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS) team would like to congratulate you on your well-deserved award.

Your dedication, passion and outstanding commitment to the community is commendable. We are very happy for you and your family that your work has been publicly recognised.

We want to also thank you for your continuous support to our service and for helping us spread health messages to multicultural communities.” says Jess Helaratne, MHCS Manager.

Looking back of Josie’s over 15 years “great initiatives” in the Filipino Australian community, I am proud to mentioned the following: Founder of Bicol Inc. (previously known as First Bicol Reunion) and Maharlika Inc., Director & Secretary of the  Philippine Community Council of NSW (PCC-NSW), Leadership Awardee by the Filipino Communities Council of Australia, one of the founders of  the Australian Devotees of Our Lady of Penafrancia (ADOLP), a long-time advocate of Gawad Kalinga Australia and now leading the Adhika Inc. & community radio host at Wow FM 100.7.  With her many tangible projects here & overseas, Josie’s commitment and dedication inspires other women & community advocates in Western Sydney particularly. 

Josie said, being a recipient of the 2015 Local Woman of the Year Award, I am hopeful that I can inspire other women to be more proactive and collaborate with other ethnic communities, as this will broaden the understanding of multiculturalism & diversity in Australia.

 The NSW Women Awards has a good turn-out of awardees represented across different fields from Science to Defence with majority providing their time doing exemplary voluntary work to help provide home cooked meals to homeless or awareness on women’s plight on domestic violence to research in looking for a cure on pancreatic cancer.  These were exemplary women who has provided their time, resources and energy for the greater well-being and recognition of women everywhere.

The NSW Women of the Year Awards shine a light on the accomplishments of the many extraordinary women in NSW.  Each and every nominee has made an immense contribution to their community and deserves to be publicly applaudedsays NSW Premier Mike Baird.

The 4th annual NSW Women of the Year Awards was hosted by NSW Minister for Women, Pru Goward.  This year the award have acknowledged the significant contribution of women in rural and regional communities.

We have met a few Local Woman of the year awardees, like Evelyn Lester, who was the first female local controller of the State Emergency Services (SES) Baulkham Hills and Jeanne Pestana who has served as an educator in Australia for more than 40 years and Christine O’Mahony who has helped the most vulnerable and disadvantaged area through St Vincent the Paul Society.

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