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Commonwealth Point of Light 12. Ruby Thoma

Ruby Thoma is the President of ‘Nauru Persons with Disability Organisation’, which raises awareness of disability in the Nauruan community.

Drawing on her experiences as a wheelchair user, Ruby has been instrumental in shaping Nauru’s disability policies and practices for more than 30 years. She successfully advocated for Nauru to sign legislation in accordance with the ‘UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities.’

The award for Ruby will be presented on 12th March, Commonwealth Day, by Angela Tierney, Australian High Commissioner in Nauru, at a ceremony attended by the Acting President of Nauru, the Hon David Adeang MP.

Ruby said:

“I feel honoured and boosted in my feeling that something happening on the small island of Nauru, right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is being noticed by bigger countries, who are showing concern of what we’re doing here. It’s very difficult to try and change people. They’re so set in their ways, in one way of living their life, and then for me to come along and say this is not right and try and do this, it’s not very helpful because, at the best of times, people have difficulty with change. But receiving this award, I think it’s a great incentive to myself that it gives me the urge to do more because as I was going downhill getting tired, worn out, discouraged and giving up hope, receiving this award by surprise is like an injection of some boosting thing to happen, to see, to continue. I think the best way to motivate people is to get them on board, educate them, and to see why they need to change.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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