In June Kate Doyle and her late husband Noel were awarded the Order of Australia medal as part of the Queen’s Birthday 2022 Honours List. The acknowledgment was a result of the couple’s service to the community through support for charitable organisations. Via their actions Kate and Noel have impacted the lives of countless individuals around the world, leaving a legacy which will change the lives of many.
Rafiki Mwema are just one of the organisations which have been fortunate to be supported by the pair. Their continued support and generosity have given life and hope to our Kenyan family, each gift thoughtfully given to address both immediate needs and lay the foundations of change that will help generations to come.
Kate and Noel – a life of charity
Born and raised in Griffith and Casino, Kate and Noel made Ballina home in 2018. It was here they grew their fuel distribution business with service stations operating between Grafton and Murwillumbah in addition to many farming areas on the Northern Rivers. Upon selling their business they had extra money, something which they never had before. This is when Kate said to Noel, ‘We have managed without this cash before so let’s start looking after other people who don’t have life’s basic necessities.’ And so started a life of charity.
Through conversations that resonated, news articles that moved and simple yet impactful encounters the couple soon began connecting with organisations and individuals in need.
The list of organisations the pair have generously assisted is long, representing a diverse set of needs both locally and overseas. These include The Winsome Soup Kitchen, Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond, Mental Health Support Group, Marys Place, Our Two Hands, Ballina Region for Refugees, Ballina Hot Meal Centre, ROMAC, Animal Rights and Rescue, Five Loaves, Kenya Health and of course Rafiki Mwema. This list doesn’t even skim the surface of all they do.
On receiving an Order of Australia medal
The receipt of an Order of Australia was a pleasant yet unexpected surprise for Kate.
‘I was embarrassed because I didn’t understand why they would choose me,’ she said. ‘I must say, I was very happy when I realised that Noel also received the award. After it sunk in, I was really overwhelmed and honoured that people nominated us and we were chosen. Noel and I enjoyed giving funds to anyone who needed it.’
A lifelong friendship
‘In 2006 I saw an article in the local paper on Sarah Rosborg (currently from Rafiki Mwema),’ said Kate. ‘She was working in Kenya and had a terrible car accident and returned to Australia for her recovery. I called her and just started asking questions about what she was doing in Kenya and invited her to visit us in Casino. We hit it off and from then on we stayed in touch and supported the charity work she does.
‘This was when I gave my heart to Africa and have since visited many countries and fallen in love a hundred times over and over again. We have travelled mostly to Tanzania and Kenya where we have met many wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to helping those around them. I admired what they did so much and always loved to see the change they were making, and it was and is such a pleasure to be able to help them achieve their dreams and being able to return to the areas we were supporting to see the changes that were happening was such an honour.’
Support of Rafiki Mwema
In 2015 Kate and Noel gifted Doyle Farm to Rafiki Mwema. This incredible act of generosity was made in response to a fundraiser we were running at the time. The goal was to expand our operations to ensure all our children could be comfortably cared for. Yet we never expected to be gifted an entire home and farm. We are still pinching ourselves to this very day!
More recently, Kate assisted the children of Rafiki Mwema through the donation of equipment to support the Kenyan court system. COVID had impacted, slowed and even halted court proceedings. This resulted in prolonged trauma for our children who were waiting for justice against their perpetrators. Hearing of the additional trauma our children, Grandma Doyle understood the importance of supporting our court system. Stepping in she generously offered to cover the costs required to turn things around. The wheels were put in motion quickly and Grandma Doyle’s donation on behalf of Rafiki Mwema was actioned. Funds have meant there is now greater access to the technology required for virtual court hearings and sessions. The donation of the requested items – two desktops, three laptops and a printer – mean this is now a reality. A laptop was also given to the Nakuru East Sub County Children’s Office.
Words of wisdom
‘We have met many wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to helping those around them,’ said Kate. ‘I admired what they did so much and always loved to see the change they were making. It was and is such a pleasure to be able to help them achieve their dreams and to see the changes that were happening was such an honour.
‘I have loved getting involved in the organisations and learning first hand where the money was going to. It’s so heart warming and inspiring to see the change that one can make when you work on the front line and see what’s happening. This is the best advice I can give. If you are able to see the work the organisation is doing first hand then make sure you do. It will change your life.’
We extend a heartfelt thanks to Kate and her late husband Noel – their Order of Australia awards are so deserved. Words will simply never suffice to express the gratitude we all have for their generous spirits.
There are many ways to support the work of Rafiki Mwema. To get started visit our How to Help page.