In honour of International Women’s Day, Regis Nedlands recently celebrated the accomplishments of resident and retired teacher, Irene Ling, striking a particular chord amongst the care team, along with 85-year-old resident at the home, Aurora Thisainayagan, who holds the title of volunteer Resident Representative at the popular western suburbs aged care home.

The two octogenarian women have achieved much in their life, in different ways.

83-year-old Irene was born in Singapore just as World War II broke out in 1939 and, after her formative education, was sent to Australia to study at Melbourne Ladies College and then to London, where she achieved a diploma of education at London University.

When she was in her early 20s, the qualified primary school teacher seized the opportunity to move to Toronto in Canada on a teacher exchange program, and it was there that she met her dentist husband who had studied at the University of WA.

The pair were married in Hong Kong before leaving city life to start a dental practice in Boulder in the Goldfields, where they lived for over 10 years and where Irene also taught at the local catholic school, St Joseph’s.

An equally studious and community-minded individual, Aurora’s passion for volunteering and supporting others has spanned more than 50 years, and has seen the University-educated octogenarian invited by the Commonwealth youth programme to serve on several not-for-profit community organisations.

Today, Aurora – who, like Irene, has studied overseas, obtaining a post-degree qualification at the University of Israel, holds the title of volunteer Resident Representative at Regis Nedlands, which sees her assist new residents to settle in and also liaise between employees and residents to facilitate and improve resident and staff communication.

“I find it so rewarding to help others and I love volunteering and spending time with my fellow residents at Regis Nedlands to help them feel at home and get the most out of all of the services and activities on offer,” says Aurora, who has a degree in social work and who immigrated from Singapore to Australia with her husband in 1997.

“On the eve of International Women’s Day, my advice to young girls deciding on their future is to take every opportunity to travel the world and experience different cultures and make the most out of their one incredible life, as it’s precious and finite,” says Irene, a mum of two who also has five grandchildren.

“And my suggestion is to never run away from a challenge,” adds Aurora.  “If you don’t fail, you don’t know how to succeed, and so my advice is to work hard, remain accountable, find your what you’re passionate about, and then go for it,” adds Aurora.

Regis Nedlands General Manager, Sam Waldron, said International Women’s Day provided an important opportunity to celebrate the achievements of female residents at the aged care home.

“International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to focus our attention on our female residents, to both recognise their achievements and also the contribution they continue to make to our vibrant Regis Nedlands community,” says Mr Waldron.

“Both Irene and Aurora can be very proud of their achievements both in their professional lives as teachers and social workers, and also for their dedication to the communities in which they have lived; they are both incredible women who have made huge contributions to society and the lives of others during their lifetimes.

“At Regis Nedlands, we have many female residents who have done things their own way and, in doing so, have blazed a trail and broken-down barriers for younger women following behind them. They are inspirational matriarchs who have lived life to the full, and we are looking forward to celebrating them.”

International Women’s Day is marked annually on March 8. It’s a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s also a time to reflect on women’s progress, to call for change and to celebrate the achievements of ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in their communities.