Migrant and multicultural stars recognised

The AFL, an ACT women’s legal centre and the Queensland Islamic Women’s Association were among those recognised at the 2015 Migration and Settlement Awards.

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In its third year, the awards ceremony held at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday honoured individuals and organisations for showing a positive impact on migration and multiculturalism.

Ali Faraj, community engagement manager at the GWS Giants AFL club, was selected as the Case worker of the Year for using sport to bring different cultures together.

Mr Faraj said that the programs they deliver around nutrition, science, environment, youth mentoring and leadership was one thing that he always wanted to be involved in.

“Here now at the club I’ve been given an opportunity working with an elite sport to deliver these programs to young people from the community I grew up in,” he said.

Mr Faraj said he was thrilled to even be nominated and paid tribute to others in his category.

“Humbled enough to say that I’m not the only person doing this type of work,” he said.

“There’s hundreds out there doing the same work.”  

Other award winners include the ACT Women’s Legal Centre for its work helping women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and the Islamic Women’s Association of Queensland was recognised in a new category and awarded for Empowering Women. 

“The quality and the spread of shortlisted finalists across geography and industry sectors shows us that diversity is becoming more important and relevant to Australians,” Carla Wilshire, CEO of the Migration Council of Australia, said.

Resettling in a foreign country is not a seamless exercise and Ms Wilshire said it’s important to recognise that struggle.  

 “It takes enormous courage to migrate,” she said.

“You’re putting not only the trust of your own life but the trust of your children’s lives and generations to come in a new country.”

“A very scary proposition so having a welcoming community is absolutely fundamental to that.”

More than 200,000 people migrate to Australia each year, and roughly 13,000 are refugees.

Nedhal Amir one of those who came to Australia in 2005 and said she found it difficult to resettle.

But Ms Amir has turned her troubles into a dedication to support others to feel at home.

“Helping women, families, and men you know all the category of visas because they need support from someone who knows the area well,” she said.

A total of 21 individuals and organisations were selected as finalists with a total of eight winners. 

Former Liberal politician Petro Georgiou was honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to multiculturalism.