James Ruse student wins Marie Bashir Peace Prize

Peace offering: Tanya Han, 18, is one of six young women in NSW to be awarded the Marie Bashir Peace Prize. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Peace offering: Tanya Han, 18, is one of six young women in NSW to be awarded the Marie Bashir Peace Prize. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Tanya Han knows a little time and compassion go a long way.

This month, the year 12 student and prefect at James Ruse Agricultural High School will receive a Marie Bashir Peace Prize for her volunteer efforts.

The award is given to young women in years 10 to 12 who foster peace, equality and harmonious relationships in their communities.

Tanya said compassion and vision helped to create harmony and tangible change.

"You need to be compassionate but also pragmatic. You can't be too optimistic about some things sometimes," she said.

"It's about what will actually cause people to think differently and act differently."

Tanya has volunteered at a blood bank and delivered bread to the homeless.

While in year 10, she was part of a team that set up an organisation to raise awareness of domestic violence for the High Resolves scheme.

Last year she served on Youth Parliament to increase equality for indigenous people in rural areas and raised funds for different charities.

Tanya saw the impact a dedicated individual can have when a fellow volunteer developed a rare illness.

"So many people came to see him to make sure he was OK," she said. "As one person he's managed to touch the lives of so many.

"It's so beautiful that he does just a little bit but over time it adds up to so much."

Tanya said it was important that young female leaders be encouraged.

"Equality between women and men is becoming more important and the government and organisations are really pushing young women [towards leadership], but I think that girls always need encouragement to know that what they're doing is useful," she said.

"Especially in community and volunteering work. You see a lot of teenage girls . . . we're so concerned about our appearance, going to school, boys, and work, but we very rarely step back and look at the whole picture.

"And I think that's really important — to let girls know that they're valued beyond their looks and valued beyond the superficial things."

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