Part of Nepal is becoming closely linked with Orange thanks to the pioneering work of Mary Brell.
Over the past eight years Ms Brell has made about 15 trips to the Asian nation taking local teachers, doctors, builders and now senior school students from Orange.
They have helped, educated and treated the people and rebuilt structures destroyed in a major earthquake in 2015.
“The ambassador to Nepal [Glenn White] said ‘I think you’ve brought half of Orange with you’,” Ms Brell said.
“We’ve built a couple of new schools, health centres and a community centre.
“I have taken lots of people from Orange over there.”
“It has had a major impact on Nepal and people here.”
Her Nepal effort started when as a Rotary club leader she was contacted by a Sydney club needing teachers for a project in Nepal.
Ms Brell who runs her own company Keys to Success, which provides professional and personal training for people, jumped at the chance.
And when you add those three aspects – her work in Nepal, Rotary work, leadership and major awards including Rotarian of the Year for District 9700 in 2012, plus her career in enhancing people’s lives – it is no wonder Ms Brell has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal [OAM] in the Australia Day Honours.
“The whole thing has been overwhelming,” she said.
“It is incredibly humbling.”
Ms Brell said one of the most satisfying parts of the Nepal trip was taking Year 12 school students to Nepal instead of them going to schoolies parties.
She said the trip had left a major impression on the three groups of students who had traveled and she was confident the project would continue to develop.
“The impact the trip has had on the students is amazing,” she said.
“It is something really significant for them.”
Ms Brell started her career as a teacher before moving into a consultancy role for teachers and then started her education training consultancy business in Orange 15 years ago.
“I took a risk, but that risk paid off,” she said.
“My philosophy is all about, I think if I can make a difference, I want to do that.
“I’ve just been the catalyst for a lot of people doing all the stuff.
“It’s that leadership potential that I’ve had.
“I’ve got the idea, why don’t you come with me.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the other people.”