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Bambigi: Inspiring Change and Saving Lives – The Story of the Young Innovator of the Year



The Australian Sport, Recreation and Play Innovation Awards took place during this year's NSC Oration, attracting a record number of submissions and setting exceptionally high standards. The event showcased the outstanding work being invested in communities across Australia.

The Overall Sport, Recreation, and Play Industry Award for Innovation winner was chosen from one of the 12 category winners.


The recipient of the Overall Award was Bambigi, a charity organization founded by Piper Stewart, an Aboriginal girl, with the aim of increasing the number of Aboriginal children learning swimming and water safety. The project provides essential skills and knowledge to be safer in and around water, thus reducing the drowning risk for Aboriginal people.


The word "Bambigi" translates to "to swim" in Wiradjuri, Griffith's traditional Aboriginal language. Piper Stewart, a young local Wiradjuri woman from Griffith, NSW, initiated this project at the age of 12. She noticed a lack of Aboriginal children participating in swimming lessons or swimming in her squad, mainly due to financial constraints. The Bambigi project seeks to fund swimming lessons for Aboriginal children of all ages, including preschool, school-age, and teenage boys, addressing a national and global concern with a local solution.


The prestigious award was presented to Bambigi by Patrick Walker, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Sports Foundation.

Among the numerous submissions, the following winners were recognized:


  1. Programs and Activities Category Winner: Monash City Council (Active Monash) - Active Communities Program (Vic)

  2. Sport and Inclusion Category Winner: North Queensland Sports Foundation - Move it NQ (Qld)

  3. Social Value of Participation Category Winner: SportWest - Sport in Western Australia: Social Return On Investment (WA)

  4. Marketing and Communications Category Winner: parkrun Australia - Women and Girls of parkrun (Aus)

  5. Young Innovator of the Year: Piper Stewart - Bambigi: Making Aboriginal Kids Deadly Swimmers

  6. Major Event Promotion Category Winner: Wollongong City Council - Host City 2022 UCI Road World Championships, Bike City (NSW)

  7. Technology Category Winner: Chicks Who Ride Bikes - Mobile app development (Qld)

  8. Sport and Leisure Facility Design Category Winner: Brimbank City Council/William Ross Architects - Mobile app development (Qld)

  9. Sports Surfaces Category Winner: element Sports Turf Solutions - H3 Hybrid Cricket Pitch (Qld)

  10. Sport and Climate Change Category Winner: South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre - Waste Reduction & Energy Saving Strategy - The Y (Vic)

  11. Playground Design Category Winner: Richmond Valley Council & Urban Play - Crawford Square Playground - Casino (NSW)

  12. Community Sports Fundraising Category Winner: Surfing Victoria - Victorian Indigenous Surfing Program (Vic)


Read the full article here.


Photo Courtesy Bambigi


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