‘Student of Year’ devotes life fighting against oppression

Student of the Year, Yeshe Choesang.
Student of the Year, Yeshe Choesang.

A BANKSTOWN TAFE student has been named Health, Well-being and Community Student of the Year while a Padstow TAFE student has been named Apprentice of the Year at the TAFE NSW Excellence Awards.

Apprentice of the Year, Nicholas Sanki.Graduating with a Diploma of Community Services (Case Management), Tibetan refugee Yeshe Choesang has spent a lifetime fighting against oppression.
He now works with Settlement Services International, helping other refugees and migrants access essential medical and government services as well as assisting them to connect with all-important community networks.
“I wanted to give something back to the community,” he says of his decision to study Community Services.
“I am very proud of this award. My TAFE NSW teachers always encouraged me to take advantage of opportunities, which I have never had before. I feel so grateful for the education system, the teachers, the community, the freedom and the way of study here – it is a very different atmosphere to where I come from.”
Yeshe grew up in a small village in eastern Tibet and was forced to flee across the border into India when he was just 11, escaping human rights abuses and leaving behind his parents, whom he never saw again.
Even while juggling the demands of study, writing a book and two day jobs (he’s also a Centrelink interpreter), Yeshe has still found time to establish a not-for-profit organisation supporting his local Tibetan community – the Tibet Initiative Network Australia.
Apprentice of the Year, Nicholas Sanki completed a Certificate III in Landscape Construction at Padstow TAFE.
“His determination saw him overcome challenges to complete his studies while successfully juggling on-the-job training and developing his own business,” a TAFE spokesperson said.