2021 Volunteering

Winner Stories
Runners up

Volunteering Victoria proudly celebrated the 2021 Volunteering Awards held at Government House on Friday 25 March 2022.

The 2021 Volunteering Awards recognise and celebrate the impact volunteers, volunteer leaders and volunteer programs have in building resilient communities, services and connections across Victoria. Showcasing excellence by individuals, teams and volunteer involving organisations, the 2021 Awards were run by Volunteering Victoria with the support of the Victorian State Government through the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH).

“After another year where communities throughout the state were again challenged by the pandemic, we are able to acknowledge the enormous contribution of our volunteers.”
– Scott Miller, Chief Executive of Volunteering Victoria

The 2021 Volunteering Awards are a combination of the Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards and the Volunteering Victoria State Awards. Seven categories were awarded: COVID-19 Resilience, COVID-19 Innovation, COVID-19 Support & Connection, Volunteering Partnerships, Inclusive Volunteering, Volunteering Pathways to Skills & Inclusion and Volunteering Leadership. View the Volunteering Awards guidelines.

One winner was also named the Premier’s Volunteer of the Year, receiving the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award and a $10,000 donation to a not-for-profit organisation of their choice.

Winner Stories

Premier's Volunteer of the Year

Jaya Manchikanti

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award

Jaya Manchikanti is the Founder and immediate past president of IndianCare, serving from 2013 to late 2021.  IndianCare is a Victorian not-for-profit community organisation dedicated to addressing the welfare needs of people of Indian origin in Victoria, providing direct support and pathway connection in the areas of family violence, substance abuse, health, international students, social isolation, migration, education and employment, and elder abuse.

Jaya’s influence and leadership have been instrumental to the Indian community during the pandemic.  Serving as President in a voluntary capacity, Jaya provided leadership on all aspects of the organisation at board and operational levels. She is a community development specialist, and under her leadership IndianCare has grown from a small voluntary group to one of the largest Indian and South Asian community social welfare organisations in Australia.

IndianCare continues to create volunteering pathways for social justice impact in the Indian community in Victoria, recently partnering with Victoria University to offer placements for social students. These pathways were established by Jaya through years of advocacy and relationship building.

We commend Jaya for her truly inspiring work and congratulate her for the well-deserved accolade of Premier’s Volunteer of the Year, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award.

Runners Up


Benjy Orwin

Volunteering Leadership Award

Although a Finalist in another category, the judging panel commends the volunteer leadership shown by Benjy Orwin, the youngest person to be shortlisted.  In 2018 at just 8 years of age Benjy was motivated to start the charity Socks 4 Support, which has donated 26,500 pairs of socks to people in need, including the homeless, people suffering domestic violence and substance abuse.  Benjy has demonstrated inspirational leadership that belies his years.