KATIE Liew believes in solving community issues so much that she quit her job to start a social enterprise that helps people dealing with homelessness.
The East Victoria Park resident received the Paul Harris Fellowship at an event at the University of WA, which was hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Perth and Crawley on March 22.
“The fellowship is about recognition and the idea is to help its recipients to raise awareness about the issues they care about,” she said.
“As part of the application, you need to show how you display ‘service before self’.
“I think the reasons I was awarded the fellowship came down to a combination of things
“I travelled to Africa in 2015 and went overlanding to nine countries before spending two months in a garbage dump in Jakarta when I was able to learn about poverty.
“I’ve always been passionate about aid and when I got back, I started researching into homelessness.”
Ms Liew quit her job as an accountant and started the social enterprise The Underground Collaborative, which aims to find employment and housing for solution for homeless and at-risk people.
“In the short-term, I want to provide employment for people impacted by domestic violence, refugees and at-risk people and find sustainable housing solutions,” she said.
“I’m trying to link up with Zonta House and St. Pat’s (St. Patrick’s Community Support Centre) in Fremantle.
“I’m also trying to start a coffee cart at John MacMillan Park, which will employ people at-risk of homelessness or domestic violence.
“It’s a way to engage to the community and help them understand the reasons behind the issues.”
Ms Liew said the Town of Victoria Park had been supportive of the concept but funding was the greatest issue for the coffee cart.
“Long-term I want to work with impact investors to provide property to fix issues,” she said.
Visit theunderground.org.au or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to help.