By LACHLAN MOORHEAD
WHEN Zac de Silva campaigned for change in his Narre Warren South community, he knew his close friend Riyani was watching over him.
Zac used to work with Riyani Lowen at the Amberley Park Video Ezy before the 16-year-old girl was killed in a two-car collision at the intersection of Hallam and Ormond roads in 2009.
The tragedy spurred Zac to successfully lobby to have the dangerous road duplicated, and now the 26-year-old has his sights set on the next Casey council elections in 2016.
He also campaigned for compulsory driver education programs in schools.
Zac said his memory of Riyani was his main source of inspiration.
“She’s possibly the number one inspiration to me. I’m very close with her family and I catch up with them regularly, we support each other,” he said.
“I was close friends with Riyani and after her death I helped form a lobby group that got the road duplicated and I gradually did more and more volunteer work.
“The whole community was grieving.”
The former Haileybury college student is being mentored by recent Greens candidate Lynette Keleher and Narre Warren South MP Judith Graley.
“Narre Warren South means a hell of a lot to me; I grew up here,” he said.
“It’s sad to see Webb Street so run down; I want it to be like High Street in Berwick.
After a recent stint in Casey Hospital, Zac is already planning to give back to the doctors and nurses who took care of him, as he continues to embark on his journey of community campaigning.
“The staff at Casey Hospital were unbelievably compassionate and knowledgeable and I am planning to run an official Kickster Online Crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the hospital with a new Not For Profit organisation and website of my own,” he said.
“Any help regarding this would be greatly appreciated.
“The Casey Hospital is under resourced and understaffed and as our local hospital looking after our unwell citizens, they need all the financial help they can get from the local community.”
For more information, contact Zac via email@example.com.