SISTER Trish Franklin’s work with impoverished South-East Asian children has been recognised with the Australian Catholic University’s highest honour.
Sr Franklin was awarded the ACU’s Honorary Doctor of the University at a graduation ceremony at Her Majesty’s Theatre on Saturday.
“I know it’s a huge honour,” she said. “It’s wonderful that it’s happened in Ballarat, my home town, and all my siblings were there.”
Sr Franklin has spent 30 years working in South-East Asia, including on the Thai-Burma border and in Vietnam. She returned for the ceremony from her adopted hometown of Ho Chi Minh City, where she is fluent in Vietnamese, rides around the city on her motorbike and watches Carlton games over a “beer or three” in a local pub.
Fifteen years ago she set up the Loreto Vietnam Australia Partnership, helping more than 25,000 young children to gain an education.
She has also developed a game of “sound soccer” for blind children and has up to 12,000 children involved in her schools and programs.
Sr Franklin was awarded the Order of Australia in 2005 for service to international humanitarian relief and to children in South-East Asia.
The Vietnamese government has also given her its highest honorary medal for an expatriate, as well as its Friendship Among Nations medal.