4-year-old Vaiga Karthik is the People Choice winner of SBS National Languages Competition


Vaiga Kartik’s illustration what learning Tamil language means to her won her the People’s Choice Award whereas 11-year-old Kathir Janaki Sakthivel who responded in Tamil was the SBS winner in the competition which attracted  nearly 20,000 students nationwide, aged 4 to 18 years, in the inaugural SBS National Languages Competition which  aims to  encourage and celebrate a love of learning languages in Australia.

SBS and Community Languages Australia (CLA) announced this year’s six national winners across three age categories who sent their entries on the theme ”˜what does learning language mean to you?’


The SBS winner  in the junior category,  Natalie Chung  (6, Acacia Ridge QLD) illustrated what learning Cantonese means to her and the People’s Choice winner  Vaiga Karthik  (4, Narre Warren South VIC) illustrated what learning Tamil means to her. In the secondary primary category, SBS winner  Kathir Janaki Sakthivel  (11, Cranbourne Victoria) responded in Tamil and People’s Choice winner  Anahid Andisheh  Far  (10, Bonner ACT) responded in Persian. In the senior category, SBS winner  Katerina Buck  (18, Beckenham WA) responded in Russian while the People’s Choice winner  Raaid Ahmed Mollah  (14, Wyndham Vale VIC) responded in Bangla.


SBS Director of Audio and Language Content Mandi Wicks said: “We’re thrilled with the huge response we have received from across the country to the inaugural SBS National Languages Competition. It’s been wonderful to see the range of beautiful illustrations and written submissions which indicate how important language is to many young Australians today. Australia is one of the most multicultural and multilingual nations, and we believe the SBS National Languages Competition delivers on SBS’s purpose to  inspire Australians to explore and celebrate diversity.”

Vaiga’s illustration that won her the People’s choice Award

72 national finalists from across the country were announced on 30 August. One winner from each of the three categories was selected by an SBS judging panel including Director of Audio and Language Content,  Mandi Wicks, SBS Arabic24 presenter  Heba Kassoua  and TV screenwriter, columnist and author  Benjamin Law.

In addition, Community Languages Australia selected 24 entries from the 72 national finalists, who were eligible for the People’s Choice Competition. One winner per category was voted by the public between 30 August and 9 September.

The winners, as selected by the SBS judging panel and the public vote, will be flown to the SBS National Languages Competition Awards Ceremony in Sydney to accept their award and prize on Saturday 8 October.

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