News Story

Australian Refugee Educator Honoured on UN World Refugee Day

Blanca Espinoza has served women, multicultural carers, migrants and refugees for 25 years

United Nations World Refugee Day, 20 June, honours refugees around the globe. It celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution, and recognises their resilience in rebuilding their lives.

Blanca Arely Espinoza, 69, arrived in Australia on 22 November 1989 from El Salvador, Central America, with her husband and son, “leaving behind three children with my broken heart.”                                                      

Her travel to and resettlement in Australia was organised by the government’s refugee program.                      

The Hon. Guy Zangari with Blanca Espinoza, "Women of the Year" Recipient 2018© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she says she received inspiration to volunteer in the community in 1996, from a scripture in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which reads, “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17)

“This is my motivation and I have given part of my life to the people I serve, and this is one of the greatest joys in my life,” she says.

For the next 20 years, Espinoza taught personal development courses to Latin American Women, empowering them to integrate and participate in their new communities.

With a law degree from El Salvador, she participated in the Management Committee of the New South Wales Spanish and Latin American Association (NSW SLASA) and Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre as secretary and treasurer.

Blanca Espinoza has received numerous community and government awards for her 25 years of welfare, community, and social service, including the “Salvadorean Women of the Year” Award in 2018 from the Embassy of El Salvador in Canberra; and “Fairfield Local Woman of the Year” Award in 2018, from The Hon. Guy Zangari MP and The Hon. Tania Davies MP.

“… She truly exemplifies the meaning of an inspirational role model for women by her work across all community fields and multicultural groups,” Zangari said. “She never judges people and always treats them with respect and dignity.”

Espinoza is currently president of the Management Committee of the New South Wales Spanish and Latin American Association and continues to volunteer with Anglicare as leader of the Multicultural Carers Support Group, supporting caregivers from Cambodia, Lebanon, Latin America, and the Philippines.

My reward,” she says, “is seeing the changes in peoples’ lives and helping them integrate into Australian Society."

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