Social Entrepreneurs Celebrated in Sydney
22 November 2012 at 10:10 am
Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Maura Luxford with her award. Photo: Tom Bassinder
Work by social entrepreneur Maura Luxford in raising awareness of melanoma among young people and its prevention has seen her awarded Sydney Social Entrepreneur of the Year at an awards ceremony overnight.
The award was presented as part of the School for Social Entrepreneurs’ (SSE) Sydney graduation ceremony, which celebrated the achievements of 25 social entrepreneurs who undertook the school’s Incubator Program.
Luxford says her mission to educate adolescents about melanoma started after her daughter Hannah was diagnosed with melanoma at 19 and died 12 months later.
“The shock of losing Hannah made me want to know more about adolescent melanoma and how to prevent it – it was also Hannah’s wish while living with melanoma that we not only raise money to support research to find a cure but also educate other young people to look after their skin,” Luxford said.
SSE Australia runs practical learning programs for entrepreneurial individuals who have an idea or start–up venture with a social or environmental benefit.
The school is part of a global network including eight across the UK and one in Canada with a global fellowship of over 1000 social entrepreneurs.
SSE says that other student ventures from this year’s program range from WEFTShop – a fair trade textile social enterprise that supports refugee women on the Thai-Burma border; Abundant Water – a humanitarian organisation that has developed low cost water filters to improve access to clean drinking water in developing countries; and Kids With Ability which provides mentor and vocation programs for young people in wheelchairs.
“We have seen amazing results from our students to date with many developing the confidence, networks and skills to make their social ventures more effective and sustainable,” SSE chief executive Celia Hodson said.
“Our students have not only secured funding but also developed strong partnerships and delivered significant social impact in their communities.
“We are delighted to be welcoming them as fellows of our growing network of close to 200 social entrepreneurs in Australia.”
Prior to commencing the 9-month Incubator Program, Luxford had focused her idea – Mela-What? – on raising awareness of adolescent melanoma.
She says this included her Ride4acure horse and bike treks across the country touring schools and talking to over 22,000 young people.
Luxford will launch her Mela-What? e-learning resource for high schools in 2013 – a program she says will unpack the simple science around melanoma and UV radiation and highlight prevention information in a youth friendly way.
The resource has been developed in consultation with leading skin cancer researchers and a team of education and multimedia experts at the University of New England’s EduOne program.
“With the support of SSE I decided to re-develop Mela-what? so all young people across Australia can hear Hannah’s story and the story of other young people and their families who have experienced the tragic effects of melanoma,” Luxford said.