Chiara de Fonti Blasio

2020 University of South Australia recipient

Chiara was awarded the Zonta Club of Adelaide Community Development Grant in 2020. Having a deep passion for social justice and the well-being of vulnerable children and women led her to this degree. At school it was Chiara’s initiative to create birthing kits and hygiene packs to send to vulnerable females in both East Timor and Bathurst Island. In 2018, she travelled to East Timor to work with mothers and their young children in the local community of Baucau. Her volunteer trip to East Timor, along with her experience of working with vulnerable young children as a Youth Mentor, Case Worker, Tutor and Education Support Officer all enhanced her passion to work with at-risk communities, families and individuals. As a social worker she provides assistance to those who are unable to support themselves, with a strong focus on women and children.

As Zonta’s key objective is to empower women through service and advocacy, Chiara’s 2020 Social Work honours thesis embodies this value. The main research question of her study was:

How is the Problem of Mothers with a Mental Illness Represented in Australian Print Media? The study investigated what language and discourses are typically used within society to represent mothers with mental health issues. It identified how mothers with a mental illness are discursively constructed in Australian print media and also documented that there was in fact differences between urban and rural newspapers on how they represent mothers with a mental illness. The overall aim of the study was to positively advance the status of women, through examining print media discourses that shape social attitudes and service responses to women who are mothers.

Receiving this generous grant allowed Chiara to focus closely on her final year of studies without large financial worries. She received a high distinction for her submission and graduated with First Class honours.

Chiara was since offered a position to work for Relationships Australia as part of their Family Mental Health Support Service, working with children from birth to eighteen who suffer from mental health related issues, through a holistic approach.

Chiara communicated:

I want to thank the Zonta Club of Adelaide for the generous grant I received. I am truly grateful to have been supported by such a generous and hard-working group of gifted and passionate women. I know that this support will continue to help University grant recipients reach their goals each year.

Chiara de Fonti Blasio

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