February 1st, 2015:

Penny Robertson of Australian International School wins SENIA Advocacy Award 2015

SENIA-PennyMs. Penny Robertson, the founder of the first fully inclusive school in Southeast Asia wins the SENIA Advocacy Award 2015. The SENIA Advocacy Award celebrates the achievement of a student, adult or group who encourages awareness and advocates for the aspirations of people with disabilities. The award honors those who exemplify the vision and mission of SENIA, which is to advocate in behalf of exceptional people in Asia.

Ms. Robertson’s personal commitment to special education is evident through her efforts in founding and developing the first fully inclusive school, the Australian International School Indonesia. Her pioneering work earned her the respect of colleagues all over Asia and the world.

Aside from her work in special education, Penny continued her advocacy for special needs beyond the school to her community. She is considered the main expert in Asia for the Down Syndrome Association. She has helped parents establish Down Syndrome support organizations in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. She also established the Asia Pacific Down Syndrome Federation based in Japan.

Watch this video to be inspired by Ms. Penny Robertson’s life.



Carolina Minton-Frias wins SENIA Student Award 2015

SENIA-CarolinaCarolina Minton-Frias, a student of West Academy of Beijing, wins the SENIA Student Award 2015. The SENIA Student Award honors a student with a disability who excels and advocates for the aspirations of children and youth with disabilities in Asia.

Carolina was born with a cleft palate and had to undergo four surgeries. Aside from this, she suffered from multiple ear infections, scoliosis, gluten intolerance and learning challenges including ADHD, dyslexia and dysgraphia.

Even with all her difficulties, Carolina has raised money for surgery of other children who have cleft palate. She is also a prime mover of the New Hope Foundation which has programs for orphans in need of medical care from across China. When Carolina was in 6th grade, she received the title of “Difference Maker” from Rick Hanson Foundation. Her leadership in fundraising for Operation Smile and her work with Locks of Love were cited by the foundation.

Ever the change agent, Carolina presented a TEDxYouth talk at her school. Watch Carolina and be inspired.