Congratulations Hsar Ju
Friday 16 July, 2021
Parks Victoria Community Ranger, Hsar Ju has been awarded the prestigious David Aldous Young Professional of the Year Award for his outstanding contribution to the Parks and Leisure industry.
Hsar Ju at the Parks and Leisure Australia Awards of Excellence with fellow rangers Adam Smith and Adam Xerri
Hsar is an inspirational Community Ranger based at Werribee Park and he’s passionate about connecting local culturally and linguistically diverse communities through nature-based activities. Born in a refugee camp on the Thailand Burma border Hsar is Parks Victoria’s first park ranger from a refugee background and is determined to share his passion and knowledge, so he is not the last.
Hsar with his siblings at the Mae La refugee camp on the Thailand Burma border where lived for the first 16 years of his life
Hsar moved to Australia with his family when he was 16 years old, starting his career with Parks Victoria aged 23 through a pathways program run by AMES and Parks Victoria. Since completing his apprenticeship in horticulture and natural resource management, Hsar has made a significant contribution to the award winning ‘Working Beyond Boundaries program’ with Parks Victoria and partnering agency AMES Australia.
Hsar with volunteers in the Werribee Park Community Kitchen Garden
The program was awarded the Australian Human Resource Institute’s Fons Trompenaars Cross Cultural Management Award in 2018 and was recommended by the United Nations to be included in settlement programs in other countries.
In 2019 the program was awarded Premier’s Sustainability Awards in the Environmental Justice Category, noting more than 500 refugees had benefited from their involvement in the Program.
Hsar now leads the Community Kitchen Garden at Werribee Park where he works with culturally diverse volunteers who grow vegetables which are donated to local community in need. Werribee Park is in an area which is home to more than 100 nationalities, and food security is an issue for the community.
Hsar with members of the Pride and Sikh volunteer group at Werribee Park
Hsar is also a mentor for young adults at risk including those with special needs, working in small groups each week nurturing their physical and mental health as well teaching them horticulture.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Hsar said growing up in a refugee camp means you automatically become a volunteer. “Now I am a Park Ranger and my job is to run the volunteer program to help community enjoy the park and help others in the community. I cannot take all the credit. My friends at Parks Victoria help me a lot to become a park ranger and now my job is to help other peoples.”
James Brincat, Werribee Park Area Chief Ranger says Hsar is an inspiration to many people: "For a young man to come to a new country, learn a new language, keep up his studies and become a park ranger is an amazing journey. We’re very proud of him, and he’s a real inspiration to other young refugees.”
"Hsar deserves and has earned this award because from the moment he arrived in Australia he has been working with people from other communities to help them thrive,” James said.