Ayse Köksüz

For the past 10 years, Ayse Köksüz has devoted herself to developing and improving services for her community.

Honour Roll

Ayse Köksüz, 52, came to Australia more than 20 years ago and, like many migrants, started work in Melbourne's manufacturing industries.

She has been involved with the Victorian Turkish Women's Association, the Meadow Heights Turkish Women's Association and the Turkish Young Mothers Association. Her voluntary work with Orana Family Services, a Uniting Church community service agency, has helped many isolated young women and families in north-west Melbourne. In addition to organising home visits and social activities, she has linked families and individuals with existing support services and development opportunities, ranging from exercise and education classes to computer skills and stress management training.

Her education classes have covered sensitive community issues, including family violence, and given Turkish-speaking women a chance to raise and discuss issues in a safe and supportive environment. Orana credits her community leadership style with having helped encourage new Turkish-speaking volunteers at both Orana and other local community agencies. Her work has also helped encourage the employment of staff with the language skills to deliver services that provide support for families, children and individuals.

Ayse Köksüz's commitment to community development means the true measure of her accomplishments is not just found in her many own personal achievements. It also includes the many opportunities she has helped to create for others to make their own contribution to their community. In this way, she has made a major contribution, both to the lives of people living in the north-west of Melbourne and to the wider Victorian community.