Bich Cam Nguyen

Founder, CEO and Honorary Secretary of the Australian Vietnamese Women's Association

VICState RecipientSenior Australian of the Year2021

Eighty-year-old Bich Cam Nguyen is the full-time CEO and secretary of the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association (AVWA). This flourishing, fast-growing organisation has 3 offices, more than 200 paid staff, plus volunteers.

Cam and her family came to Australia in 1975 as refugees. With her husband and friends – and without any funding – they founded the Vietnamese Friendly Society to provide interpreting services and information about Australia to new Vietnamese refugees.

In 1983, supported by 16 Vietnamese professional women, Cam formed the AVWA while bringing up her family and working full-time. The apolitical organisation helps Vietnamese and Victorians of all backgrounds with programs including home care, training, and counselling. In 1995, Cam became AVWA’s full-time executive director and then its CEO since 2004.

Fit, healthy and active, Cam has served on numerous committees including as honorary secretary for a consortium of African organisations. Cam’s dedication has helped refugees and migrants from many backgrounds to feel valued and empowered.