A SPRINGVALE South resident driven by a passion to help people embrace their differences has received one of the nation’s highest honours.
Helen Heath has been awarded the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia for services to the community.
The Queen’s birthday gong comes after 40 years of working with at-risk young people, the elderly and, most recently, Greater Dandenong’s Interfaith Network.
The network is a group of traditional and multi-faith communities promoting understanding, respect and tolerance for each other’s beliefs by living in peace and goodwill.
Mrs Heath co-ordinates the Interfaith bus tours, taking people to places of worship, including mosques, temples and churches.
“The tours are a simple way for people to get to know one another without being afraid of their differences,” she said.
“Greater Dandenong is a global village, home to a lot of people … often people can be challenged or afraid (of their differences), the tours are a way to enable people to be positive instead of fearful.
“Whether you’re religious or faithful it doesn’t matter. We all have beliefs – in justice, compassion and education,” she said.