Join us to celebrate our HEROES ! Community Leaders, Past and Present Board Members of African-Australian Community Organizations, Distinguished Members of our Communities and Foremost organizations supporting the African Communities in Victoria.

Below are some iconic African Australians living in Victoria.


Dr. Berhan Ahmed is a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Forest & Ecosystem Science Melbourne School of Land & Environment, University of Melbourne, Richmond, Victoria.

He was awarded the Victorian Australian of the Year 2009 and also, received the Meritorious Service in Community Award in 2006 from the then Premier of Victoria, the Hon. Steve Bracks.

Dr Ahmed was a member of the Victorian Government's Refugee Community-Building and Strengthening brokerage initiative, managing $4.7 million in funding in 2006 - 2007.

Dr Ahmed currently serves as a board member of Adult Multicultural English Service, Victoria, and

Chairperson of the African Think Tank Inc.


Professor Abd Malak, AM


Director, Diversity Health Institute
Professor Abd Malak has been working in the field of health, mental health and social welfare for the last 30 years. His career has encompassed the areas of service provision, policy, planning and management.

Abd has written and published in the areas of mental health, suicide, cross-cultural work, management and social justice. Throughout his career Abd has been a passionate social justice and human rights advocate.

He has also spearheaded the development of leading state and national initiatives, for example, Multicultural Mental Health Australia, Diversity Health Institute and Global Health Institute as well as, the implementation of the Integrated Health Care Cluster in Sydney West Area Health Service (SWAHS), which includes Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol, Community Health, NGO Grants, Primary Health Care and other statewide services.

Between 2005-2011 Abd held the position of Executive Director, Workforce and Organisational Development in Sydney West Area Health Service (servicing 1.5 million, $2 million budget and approximately 20 000 staff). In this role he was responsible for workforce: planning, development, recruitment and retention, in addition to organisational redesign, innovation and reform.

Abd is also the Convenor of the Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations (APRO).

In 2002 Abd was honoured to be included in the Australian Honours List as a Member in the Order Of Australia for his service to migrant communities.

Prof Malak holds appointments in the School of Medicine at the University of Western Sydney and University of Notre Dame Australia.


Theresa Sengaaga Ssali

  • Bachelor of Social Work Degree, Monash University
  • Bachelor of Social Sciences- Librarianship: RMIT University.
  • Trained family  mediator gazetted and registered with the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV)

Theresa has spent over 25 years working in Australia both as a qualified Social worker and Librarian. Theresa migrated to Australia from Uganda.

Theresa is one of the African-Australian community members who has made significant contribution in community settlement work. Advocating on settlement  issues and developing innovative initiatives, organizing and managing various social and development projects, and evaluating programs with the aim to address immediate and long term community’s needs, create awareness, strengthen community capacity and influence policy formation with a focus on communities from culturally and linguistically diverse background (CALD).

Theresa is Chairperson of the African Women’s Network South East and Senior Social Worker, Settlement and Youth Services at New Hope Foundation.

  • In her Social Worker profession Theresa has a number of memorable achievements to date, Theresa, motivated by her own personal settlement experience “Established and Co-ordinated the African Holistic Social Services  Victoria (AHSSV)”  in Melbourne 2001- 2010. This service was managed by the former Eastern and Central African Communities of Victoria (EACACOV), now called the  African Communities Foundation (ACF)
  • In 2012 Theresa in partnership with the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) initiated the Africa Day Australia Annual Celebration In Melbourne.

Theresa has initiated and managed a number of community capacity building projects and programs proactively especially for African youth, women and families responding to emerging issues to ensure the advancement of new and emerging communities’ in Australia. Click here  and here to see Africa Australia Media DVD: African Women Forum 10 May 2014 ,  African Women Network South East and New Hope Foundation Event 28 -30 March 2014

  • She has extensive experience in delivering cross-cultural training and cross-cultural information provision to government department (Federal, state and local government), non- profit organization and number of mainstream services providers groups. 
  • Engagement in research, policy, advocacy and presentations at major forums that assists the resettlement of African communities and other newly emerging groups. 

Committees Membership and Volunteer Work

  1. African Women Network South East - Chairperson

  2.  Team co-ordinator Africa Day Australia – ‘Women and Families Forum’

  3. Ambassadors for Peace - Universal Peace Federation (UPF)

  4. UPF/ Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP)

  5. Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria (ECCV) - New and Emerging Communities Policy Sub-Committee

  6. Theresa has also served and continues to serve on a number of Government Advisory Committees, Reference Groups and Community Associations.

    As a librarian Theresa worked as a Reference Librarian at the Mental Health Library Services, Royal Park Hospital (now closed), Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria, Commonwealth Scientific, and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) - Clayton Site and Monash University – Library System


Dr Jonathan Makuwira is a Senior Lecturer in International Development at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University in Melbourne, Australia. He currently teaches The Political Economy of Aid; Project Planning, Design, Monitoring and Evaluation; International NGOs and Civil Society; and Contemporary Africa.

Prior to his current position, he taught Peace Studies at University of New England; Comparative Indigenous Studies at Central Queensland University.

In 2007 Dr Makuwira was awarded The Carrick Australian Awards for University Teaching Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. Similarly, in 2010 he was a recipient of RMIT University Teaching Excellence in Higher Education:- For fostering innovation in curriculum development, learning and teaching and linking international development studies theory into practice.

Furthermore, Dr Makuwira has just completed research project on urban poverty and non-governmental development organisations’ (NGDOs’) intervention mechanisms in Malawi, which was funded by RMIT Emerging Researchers Grant.


Dr Felix Mavondo is Professor of Marketing at Monash University. He is
well-known to the marketing community as a leader through has contributions to the academic discpline  at local, regional and international conferences as a conference organiser, track chair,
guest speaker, discussant or presenter. Professor Mavondo has  successfully supervised nearly 50 doctoral students making him outstanding among Australian and international academic with such an enviable record. He has had international students most of south-east Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand) and, China and Russia, and naturally a significant number from Africa who have taken up important positions. Professor Mavondo has published extensively in top Marketing, Management and Tourism journals and on the editorial board of five internal journals. He currently is a visiting professor at six international universities.He has extensive consulting
experiences having worked with agribusiness industry, banks, government and many other key sectors of the economy.  Professor Mavondo is a Board Member of the  ATT in Melbourne.

Professor Mavondo travels to Africa often and encourages students to take advantage of the academic experiences provided by Australia. In the last few years he has visited Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa where he has spent time at a number of universities contributing his expertise and sharing his experiences.


Dr Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo  is the Associate Professor of Public Relations /Marketing and Head of the Communications Academic Group at  Swinburne University, Hawthorn, Victoria.

From 2001-2007, he was responsible for developing, nurturing and providing leadership and direction to the public relations program of the School of Humanities, Communications & Social Sciences, Monash University.

 His expertise spans across the fields of Communications, Media Studies and Public Relations; with a wealth of experience in teaching and curriculum development in these disciplinary areas. 


Samia Baho

Samia is a Manager of Justice for Refugee with the Department of Justice in Victoria. 

She came to Australia as a refugee 22 years ago. Her early settlement experience helped to shape her approach to work and life. On arrival, Samia could already speak several languages and soon developed expertise in English.

Samia has extensive experience and expertise in working collaboratively with refugee communities. Over the past 18 years, she has worked in interpreting, children’s services, family & youth, domestic violence, teaching and research. Samia has constantly looked at ways to support and assist refugee communities especially young people and women. She initiated and developed several programs for the refugee communities. She set up the first ethnic-specific Playgroup for Horn of African families, the first Home Base Child Care training and the first Horn of African Home Work Support Club.

Samia has a Bachelor of Social Work, a Certificate in Cultural Practice Law and Health from Latrobe University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Health and a Masters Degree in Women’s Health at the University of Melbourne. Prior to managing the Justice for Refugee Program, Samia spent 8 years as the statewide Program Advisor for the Family and Reproductive Rights Education Program (FARREP)

A tireless, committed and passionate activist and thinker, Samia have often demonstrated extraordinary leadership on racism and sexism issues. Through her work, particularly in the area of settlement and violence against women, diverse community groups have undertaken pioneering work in challenging mainstream perceptions and understanding of refugee communities. Samia is a steering committee member of the HREOC African Communities’ Project.

Samia’s contribution was recognized at a state and national level, in March 2008 being inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and appointed to the following committees

1. "Refugee Resettlement Advisory Committee. Department of Immigration & Citizenship, Canberra 2008 - 2010

2. FECCA newly and Emerging Advisory Committees 2008 - 2009

3. “African Australians: A report on human rights & social inclusion issues.” Australian Human Rights Commission (HREOC) 2008 - 2010

4. "Islamic Women's Welfare Council of Victoria, Board member 2009- 2010

5. “Western Health Cultural Diversity Steering Committee, Western Health Services.2007 - 2008

  1. FGM Working Party, Office of the Child Safety Commissioner, Victoria. 2008
  2. “Multicultural Health & Support Services (HIV, HPC, STIs for Horn of African 2006
  3. Victorian Law Reform Commission, Cultural and Linguistically Diverse Communities 2005
  4. “Advocacy, Leadership and Community Participation. A training program for consumers and carers.” North Central Metro PCP (Primary Care Partnership) 2005

Due to work demands and commitment, Samia currently sits only one:  

  1. Refugee Minor Program quarterly Reference Group Meeting
  2. Australian Federal Government, Department of Human Services, Victorian Multicultural Advisory Committee ( MAC )


Terefe Aborete is an Ethiopian Australian arrived in Australia in 1995. Terefe works for CatholicCare Melbourne as  Manager of Refugee and Settlement Program . Terefe’s association with CatholicCare began way back in 1999 where he joined as a community development worker. He is the pioneer of the Horn of Africa Family Service unit at CatholicCare . He became the manager in 2005 and started an innovative approach to help the newly arrived refugees find their feet in Australia. This program focuses on ‘village like’ social support network and social skill development that would facilitate their settlement in their new home, Australia.

Terefe’s significant contribution to the refugee community is  bringing all the Horn of Africans community leaders together once has been seen as  traditional enemies and  instilling in them a sense of unity. Terefe’s tireless effort , has given a boost to cross-cultural communication and relationship building thereby forging trust, awareness, confidence and respect between the refugee communities and the wider  community. Realising the need of being in touch with native languages of the refugees, he played a vital role starting the first multi-lingual Horn of African newspaper  “ The Ambassador”. Terefe’s  help has spanned all borders of not only African where he has worked with Sudanese, Ethiopians, Eritrean , Somalis, Congolese, Liberians, and other African refugees but also Afghanis, Sri Lankans, Indians, Chin and  Karen refugees.

Terefe was one of the  21 proud Victorians from a refugee background who was  recognized for his outstanding work in assisting the refugee community.  He is also the recipients of the Victorian Premier’s Award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs  in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the newly arrived communities and the wider Australian community.

Terefe is a founder and General Secretary of Horn of African Communities Network,  member of Board of Directors of Western Region Health Centre, Member of the External Advisory Group of Wyndham City Council, Member of the reference group for Asylum Seekers Support Program of CatholicCare, Member of  School Council of Western Region English Language School , Member of South East Settlement Planning Committee, former Deputy Chair of Western Region Ethnic Communities Council and former President of Ethiopia Community Association in Victoria.  


Ahmed Noor Yusuf
Ahmed has been a senior manager with over 25 years’ experience in business and project management in private, public and not-for-profit sectors with particular strengths in managing transitions. He has in the past worked as a CEO for a large public entity and in other senior management roles. His experience spans two continents. He hails from Kenya, East Africa – a country renowned for its abundant wildlife and superb long distance runners.

Today, Ahmed is the CEO of Parker Brent and manages his own enterprises in education, construction and community services. His transition to self-employment has been successful and he now plays his part as an employer.

Ahmed has been a passionate advocate for migrants and especially, African migrants in their process to settle in their new communities and fulfill their goals. His effort in supporting skilled migrants in finding work has assisted many and he continues to volunteer at the skilled migrants’ Job Club at the Multicultural Hub, based in Melbourne city. He has been a great supporter and resource for the National Bank’s African Workplace Development project that assists qualified Africans in Australia gain work experience. This program has had an enormous impact and has already shaped the lives of many.



GENERAL MANAGER & Compliance Officer

Jama is the General Manager of KAAH MONEY TRANSFER and also well-known and respected businessman in Western suburbs, particularly where African refugees business is booming in Footscray.

Jma has worked in KMT for over thirteen years and during the last eight years he formed a close professional and personal relationship to assist Africans with business ideas in Victoria.

Jama continued his business dream and studied from computer programming and other business courses and communicated with a wide range of business people and mentored many refugees from Africa to better understand the Australian business culture and communication. His experience in business management, community volunteerism, and customer service has allowed him to understand Victorian mainstream business people, politician and also community leaders.

According to Jama:

"I developed a business network within the mainstream society and the African communities and continued supporting for a sustained prosperity within the local community and more importantly have an international link. I speak at least five languages, namely, Amharic, Somali, Spanish Arabic and English.

I managed and operated for many years a complex business and professional organizations, and gained a huge experience on discipline, planning, priorities, transparency and accountability.

I have been committed volunteer established organisations such as The Maribyrnong City Council CALD Plan Advisory Committee’s, Victorian Multicultural Business Advisory Council and Director, community service for Rotary Club of Footscray District 9800

My strengths include my business background, as a well-respected community leader, and have symbiotic relationship with the African community and main stream society. "


 Abdullah Safi is the CEO of   New Force Recruitment & Training in Docklands and Melbourne’s West. He is a prominent and successful African-Australian businessman described by his peers and competitors as Footscray's African King Of SMB "Small and Medium Business".

Safi migrated to Australia as an Eritrean Refugee about 20 years ago. He is not only a business man but also an educator and an employment professional  who has made significant changes in the life of unskilled and jobless African refugees.

Over the last fifteen years, Safi is considered to be one of the few Africans who have long standing and profound experience in Government's employment services, vocational education and training programs.

Mr Safi has assisted a large number of both local and international students with access to training, education and  employment during his previous  engagements with Education Access Australia, WISE Employment, AMES, IPA Personnel and Job Future.

Further , Mr Safi delivers  accredited  health professional training sessions in Asthma and Anaphylaxis ( Triggers & Preventions of Food Allergy and Airway diseases)  to several African and non African participants every three months. He is continuing to empower both the African and Australian communities in a positive way.


Yasseen Musa came to Australia 24 years ago and since that time he has participated actively in lobbying  the Australian government to get African refugees here.

Yasseen is among the leaders of  Eritrean community and the African Community in Victoria. He successfully established an u/13 and u/16 African soccer team; He has  linked  the African youths  with the Essendon footy club, helping them participate in Auskick, providing free tickets  to young African-Australians to watch and be mentored at the  North Melbourne footy club'  games.

In year 2006, Yasseen participated in  establishing an official North Lions Soccer Club that enabled the u/12 to participate in a real competition with FFV. In year 2008 the u/12 finished at the top of the ladder and got the Premiership Cup.

Also in year 2008, Yasseen  volunteered with the  Australian Federal Police  and the Essendon footy club to host the Unity Cup, which is a footy tournament between Muslim, African ,indigenous and Jewish team.

In year 2009 Yasseen participated in lobbying the North Melbourne Footy Club to join the Unity Cup and they did.
From 2008 till now,  he has participated to get  4 AFL teams joining the Unity Cup which are Kangaroos, Essendon, Hawthorn and Bulldogs.

As ambassador of North Melbourne Footy Club, Yasseen has helped to organize programs for disadvantaged African community members, taking them to the beach and teaching them how to stay safe in the water.

Yasseen has voluntarily helped the north Melbourne Footy Club, Victorian Police, Melbourne City Council and Flemington Bicycle Shop to conduct a Bicycle Project which teaches the kids  road safety rules and give them a free bike.

In year 2012, Yasseen participated in  establishing the Team Africa footy team. The team played at Harmony Cup, a footy tournament played between 12 different ethnic groups. The team also played at Unity Cup.

Yasseen has helped the African community establish strong relationship with the Victorian Police, helping in foot patrol with the police from time to time around the stations, the flats and main roads at Kensington, Flemington and North Melbourne.

Yasseen helps the rotary club provide unique services to the African community

Yasseen has participated in the production of a movie called 'Falling for Sahara' which was shown at Melbourne Movie Festival in 2011.

Yasseen is the Treasurer of the Eritrean Community and has volunteered for Jesuit Social Services for over 5 years.


Report by Wyndham Leader Newspaper

Solomon Tesfaye has spent more than 700 hours in the garage of his family’s home, designing and building his single-person ultralight plane.

The 16-year-old has been working for 18 months on his aircraft and hopes in another two to three months he will finally be able to take to the skies.

Working on the plane up to 12 hours a day during school holidays, as well as weekends, the Year 10 Werribee Secondary College student said his passion for aircraft stemmed from a young age.

“I’d always been interested in planes and flying from a young age and I saw a few of the ultralight planes and I was inspired to build my own,” he said.

The fuel-efficient plane, made from scrap and recycled materials, has cost just $700 to build.

“I’ve built it all from scratch and it’s all recycled except for the engines and propellers,” he said.

The five-metre-wide plane has a metal frame, plastic skin and runs on regular unleaded car petrol.

And it seems this may not be the last plane that Solomon has a hand in designing and building.

“It’s my ambition to become a pilot but I’d also like to be involved with the design and building of aeroplanes,” he said.

See ABC News Video
Additional News report: FLYING HIGH - Sky’s the limit for boy who arrived as a refugee


Solomon Kebede
is the North /Western Metropolitan Region  Multicultural Liaison Officer for the Justice for Refugees Program (JRP) with the Department of Justice.

Having arrived in Australia as one of the first African resettled refugees, he has had first hand experience surrounding issues of resettlement for positive integration within the mainstream Australian communities.

Leaving behind his pride, education and professional work experience gained back home, he started everything from scratch in Australia.  He worked on various labour and mundane jobs to support his family and himself.  He went back to the university to continue improving his knowledge to better his life style and to become a role model to the African community in Australia.

Some of his achievements with African community engagements include:

  • Founder of the Ethiopian community association in Victoria
  • Founding member of the Federation of the Australian and African Community Council  
  • Founding member of the Ethiopian Orthodox church in Victoria
  • Reference group Committee member of  the African Australians on Human Rights and Social Inclusion
  • Member of the Refugee Brokerage Program partnership
  • Treasurer and  project manager for the Ethiopian community association in Victoria over two election periods

His current position with the Department of Justice in Victoria entails engagement in research and development initiatives of policy frameworks employing his knowledge and interest in social justice, and project management as defined by the State priorities while responding to regional and global trends.

Solomon is also highly involved in addressing justice access issues for people from Refugee backgrounds (Sudanese, Somali, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Democratic Rep of Congo, Burundian, Iraqi, Afghanistan and Burma)

He has been working with great results on the initiative to minimise the negative contact between the African refugee communities and the justice system.

Some of Solomon’s achievements in his position with the Department of Justice in Victoria include:

  • Minimised the negative contact of the refugee communities with the justice system
  • Significantly increased cultural awareness knowledge and skills of the department’s staff
  • Increased refugee communities knowledge of Victorian justice and legal system through Expos, Forums and consultations 
  • Increased refugee communities Country Profiles with internal and external stakeholders

He is a strong advocate, passionate, rational, and strong leader in human rights and equal opportunities issues affecting the African communities in Australia.


Dynamic duo THE FLYBZ hit the airwaves at leading Melbourne community radio station 3RRR recently to talk about their involvement with Jesuit Social Services (JSS)' just cycle yarra valley bike ride and concert.

Unrivalled by their dedication to hip hop, FLYBZ's Fablice and G-storm made Australia their home in 2007 and have been building their reputation for delivering energetic and passionate hip hop ever since.

See video 1 , 2 , 3

As a young refugee, from the African country of Burundi, Fablice was forced to move to the bordering Tanzania to live with his sister.

It was here in Tanzania, that Fablice met G-Storm and what started as a friendship turned into something more as the boys began to use music as a means to tell their story; a story of universal importance, of struggle, turmoil and loss but more powerfully of embracing life and love while taking a stance on discrimination and promoting their political messages.

With the ravages of war and deteriorating living conditions in Tanzania, Fablice and G-Stome came to Australia to start a new life and to share their experiences through music.

Since 2007 the boys have played with Diafrix, Killer Queens and Black Roots, while also taking to the stage at Moomba, Our Backyard and the Emerge Festival.

FLYBZ has had 15 musical performances in places as various as Xavier College in Kew, at the Brosnan Youth Centre in Brunswick, at African homework clubs  run by JSS  in Flemington and St Albans, at the Artful Dodgers studio in Collingwood, at fundraising cocktail parties in South Yarra, at a concert in Red Hill staged by one of our supporters, at a rock concert at North Melbourne Town Hall and many other shows

Fablice has also worked as boundary umpire at the RRR Community Cup Football game and made a big impression on famed singer Paul Kelly who invited him to a personal footy training session.

As part of promoting JSS's JUST CYCLE event he also met former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks with whom he appeared in a photo in the Herald Sun

Fablice is also on the new compilation CD JUST MUSIC  released to mark 35th years of Jesuit Social Services.


An employment services highest award presented to Yasir by Mark Arbib Federal Minister of Employment

Yasir Abdurahim Mahmud is a Telecommunication/Electrical Engineer  & currently works as a Senior Employment advocate in Job Services Australia.

Mr Mahmud came to Australia from Eritrea in 1994. After arriving in Melbourne he completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic Eng.) and then worked as a technician with Australian Defence for two years before returning to university to complete his Masters of Engineers (Telecommunication Engineering) at  Victoria University.

He is an accredited member of the Institute of Engineers Australia and also holds the following qualifications: 
  • Diploma,  Interpreting Arabic-English, RMIT;
  • Certificate IV, Training & Assessment;
  • Certificate IV, Front Line Management, Victoria University;
  • Certificate, Community Services;
  • Certificate III, Web Site Design and Media.
  • Masters, Management & Leadership (Ongoing)

Yasir inspires lots of young people mainly from African background through actively engaging them in sport and one-on-one or group mentoring sessions. Some projects developed for young Africans by Yasir include:  'Step By Step' program and 'Youth In Progress' (YIP).

Further, Yasir empowers the  African refugees living in Australia through fundraising or by helping  community organisations who assists refugees. He also disseminates useful information and assists individuals and organizations through his community web site.

As an employment service personnel, Yasir supports long term unemployed people, youth who are disengaged from school at early age, to find job. As a result, he has received several awards including:  North-West Victoria Golden Frog Award, Campbell Page Business Excellence Award, and  in 2010 he was presented  The Australian National Employment Consultant of the Year Award by the Federal Minster of Employment. Similarly, in 2009,  the Mission of Hope presented  The Australian Muslim Role Model of the Year  Award  to Yasir for being a role model to many young people in the local community.

In an article by a local newspaper,  Star Hume,  Yasir was described as King of Jobs. This article reflects  on Yasir's achievements in empowering disadvantaged people by helping them secure  employment.


Beyene has been appointed Producer of the Tigrinya program for SBS. He has done a successful in getting the Eritrean community together and he is very much support for what he brings to the community. Beyene, a very intelligent professional, has come a long way from Eritrea arriving to Australia as a Refugee where he had to start all over again without his family by his side. In two years he has managed to get to that position and to finally find a meaningful role for the Eritrean community. He is committed and passionate. He doesn’t seek for fame within the community but he wishes to bring the best he can. Beyene is very humble and he needs to be rewarded for all his efforts for the community.


David David Ajak Chiengkou is a charismatic and committed South Sudanese Executive Producer working for the SBS Dinka language program. The program was launched in August 2013 following the successful implementation of the New Radio Schedule incorporating 6 new languages including Dinka. David is an NAATI accredited translator and interpreter that has also worked as a freelance blogger and in IT areas. He holds a diploma of Information Technology and a Bachelor of Networking from Melbourne Institute of Technology. He gained community enjoyment and leadership experiences while working for the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development in Southern Sudan with responsibility as the office manager for the Attorney General office. He has also worked as a Family Relationship Educator in the South Eastern Region Migrant Resource Centre in Melbourne, as a Case worker and assisted CALD families on settlements issues and challenges.


Victor Victor is 19 year old who migrated to Australia in 2003 with his family from Sudan. With no previous Education upon arrival in Australia, and attending school he found it very difficult but managed to make the best of it. Victor has a strong passion for working with and improving the lives of newly arrived and culturally and linguistically diverse young people.

Having volunteered at various community based organizations; Youth Affaire Council Of Victoria (Youth Reference Group), Multifaith Multicultural Youth Network, New Hope Foundation, Centre For Multicultural Youth CMY, Foot Prints Enterprise, R.I.S.E, City Of Greater Dandenong Youth Service (Young Leaders Program) and St Martin’s Youth Art Centre just to mention few.

While completing his VCE, Victor has been involved not just within the community but in extra school curriculums. Being a school VICE-CAPTAIN, member of Student Representative Council, Peer Support Leader, Junior and Senior House Captain. Representing his school at the United Nations conference, various Public Speaking Competitions and receiving awards for his community involvements.
Also receiving scholarship from the Western Chance Scholarship for education and continuing being an active member of the community. The Wyndham Scholarship Fund; in recognition of commitment to education, academic achievement contribution to the school community and future potential achiever.

Victor isn’t just an active member of the community is also a hip hop and Spoken word artist, as he believes that music is another form of reaching out to young people.

Victor has been awarded the City of Greater Dandenong Young Achiever of theYear.

Victor said: “Being from a multicultural background and having an experience in adapting to a new environment I believe that cultural, linguistic and religious diversity in Australia is really important and been given the opportunity to have a voice not just for young people but also to my community is what keeps me motivated in helping others.


Tamrat Achamyeleh  is among the first African refugees, who came to Australia. Since he came to Australia, Tamrat was engaged in different community activities. In addition, Tamrat pursued his further education and completed his BA (Theology) at the Luther Seminary SA, and BSW Honours, Victoria University Melbourne.

Tamrat has been working in the employment industry since 1999 and was able to assist over hundreds of migrants and disadvantaged refugees including main stream Australians  find employment. Tamrat strongly believes that employment is the key factor to change every one’s life.  Moreover Tamrat was engaged in community development activities in order to assist the new emerging communities in the process of settlement in their new home country Australia.  Tamrat worked both as Employment Consultant and Senior Employment Consultant for five years before he became a manager in 2004. While working in senior position, Tamrat was also able to employ over 100 staff members, consultants and senior consultants and site managers. Tamrat, due to his outstanding leadership, he won one of the largest employment service provider, BreakThru People Solution's Managing Director award for excellence for Victoria in 2011.


Sainab Sheikh was born in Dec.1983, Mogadishu, Somalia. She arrived in Australia in 2001 as a refugee and completed a range of diplomas- IT, Legal Business and Children’s Services and currently is studying a double degree - Third Year Social Work and Psychology & International Community Development at Victoria University.

Sainab Sheikh has focused her life's work on strengthening education, training and employment and the empowerment of African communities in Australia. Currently, Ms. Sheikh is the CEO/President of Somali Women Development Association Inc. formed in 2003. It is a non-profit organization that creates positive change for Somali women and young people. In 2007, Ms Sheikh realized that all African communities in Australia needed to be brought together so she established the African Women Network Inc. Her dynamic leadership has resulted in new solutions for communities in accessing and participating in society.

Sainab Sheikh also had a vision for an Australian Somali football championship. She discussed her vision with Ahmed Dini who developed it further and her vision has now become the largest sporting event ever undertaken by the Somali/Horn of Africa community in Australia.

Ms Sheikh was one of the recipients of the VMC for recognition of refugee’s award in 2008. She was nominated by Melbourne state Labor MP Bronwyn Pike. At the award ceremony Acting Premier Rob Hulls said the 28 people listed on the register in 2008 worked tirelessly in many fields and Mr. Hulls also said “The people recognised by these awards have overcome adversity and shown inspiring dedication to help others.”

Sainab Sheikh won one of Victoria University’s Student Leadership Awards for Outstanding Engagement with African communities in Australia and Victoria University students. She has also received the Victoria Police Award in 2010 Community Awards for her Outstanding Engagement with communities and working closely with government.

Sainab Sheikh is a member of the Flemington Community Capacity Project Steering Committee, and she is also a member of the Kensington Horn of African Community Group. She is a member of the Community liaison Committee and Community Development Subcommittee. She is also a member of the Kensington Child and Youth Committee. Finally, but not least, Sainab is an active member of the Victoria University community, where she has helped organize many events and inspired other students to build bridges between their communities both here in Australia and in Africa.

Through Sainab's exemplary leadership over the past 10 years, the SWDA has initiated almost 30 projects across a variety of communities and networks and established SWDA branches in the Gedo Region Somalia, Kenya and Malaysia.


Selamawit Alemu is a high achiever young Ethiopian Australian who has arrived to Australia with her family directly from Addis Abeba. Selamawit has attended high school in Australia and after completing high school; she has gone to Victoria University and completed her Bachelor Degree in Business, Majoring in Management. She has been closely working with the Ethiopian Community in Victoria and has served as Chair Person for the Ethiopian Women Association in Victoria in 2009.

Her interest in the community work has developed and in 2010 she has gone back to university to do her Masters Degree in International Community Development and Graduated with flying colours 2012. Part of her Masters study, She has travelled to Ethiopia in 2011/12 and has worked with CARE Ethiopia as Intern Project Manager. While working with CARE Ethiopia, She has conducted a research on the Main Causes of Women Rural to Urban Migration in Bahir Dar City and the Challenges they face in their host city. She has also worked on monitoring and evaluation of The Springboard Project which works on vulnerable women, and with people affected by HIV/AIDS.  She is working with her former course coordinator to publish her research as an academic journal article.

Currently, Selamawit is working on a project for Ethiopian Community Association in Victoria on the Puagme Festival, with Young Professional Ethiopians to Celebrate the Ethiopian New Year in September 2013. In addition to her Community work, She has gained Diploma of Interpreting with RMIT University and gives free interpreting service for her fellow community members.

Selamawit has been with various national and international organisations including on management level. She has been working with the Australian Government, Taxation Office since 2010 and is currently employed by Recoveries Corporation in the Government and Commercial Department.

Selamawit is currently in preparation of PhD classes to further investigate on internal migration.


Hussen Zamzame won the gold award in the social justice category in the 2002 premier’s public sector awards in a youth partnership with Arabic-speaking communities. This partnership is a join project that includes the NSW premiers department, the community relations commission for a multicultural NSW, The NSW police service, The NSW department of education and training, The NSW department of community services and the NSW department of sport & recreation.

He was also a member of the horn of African relief & development agency of Australia. He took it upon himself to give assistance to anyone in need always with sincerely and compassion. He has always said that we have to drive our team in this great land that is part of the ‘greater global family’ and would not refuse to help anyone in time of need. Those from the African community would always receive help in matter of searching for a job or gaining education.

Hussen has studied conflict management and was the mediator for the youth liaison team at the Australian College of Applied Psychology in 2002. He was also involved in the community services in South Western Sydney Institute in 2005.

Hussen was the first Eritrean to work on a broadcast for SBS radio for Eritrean listeners in 1994. He also completed the course in teacher training in the LOTE professional development program 1994 director of school education ethnic school association of Victoria.

He is a writer of articles of Arabic newspaper read in Australia-al nahar and al mesagble. He received an award from the Australian Arabic council for his great job as a stage manager for a theater production in 1998 at the tables turn theater at Darebin arts and entertainment canter. Also he was at work on film for new Australians titled ‘welcome to Australia’. He was the first Eritrean to write and direct a theatre at the RMIT studios in Victoria in 1996 working with young men and women.

Hussen was president for the Eritrean community in 2004. He has a Facebook page on which he shares with young Eritreans all-over Australia. The issue of improving the position of the Eritrean community.

Hussen is presently planning to create a news magazine for the horn of African community. His dream is to have a strong African community all working together under one umbrella and drive for a change and improvement in this free democratic country.


Marial Akech Achiek is currently practising as a solicitor at Starnet Legal Firm in Melbourne.

Marial Akech Achiek came to Australia almost 10 years ago from Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. He is a young talented and charming of South Sudanese-Australian personality. He finished his High School (year 11 and 12) at St Ignatius College, Riverview in Sydney Northern Suburb of Lane Cove. Together with his younger brother, John Dor Akech Achiek, were the first African-Australians to finish at this prestigious Jesuits school in Australia.

He studied Law at University of Notre Dame Australia after having received similar offer from University of Technology Sydney and Bond University. Marial completed the College of Law at Australia National University and was admitted as solicitor in NSW Supreme Court. Prior to his admission as a Lawyer, Marial did his practical legal experience at the Department of Deputy Crown Prosecutor under SC Margaret Cunneen as his mentor. His major areas of practice include criminal law, family law, property law civil and general litigations.

He is currently enrolled to undertake his post graduate Law Master Program at Australia National University. Marial is also working towards finishing his second degree in Commerce (Accounting) as a part-time study through University of South Australia with 3 subjects remaining.

Marial is a community minded person and had participated in numerous community events and will continue to give more of his legal capability for the community empowerment. Since 2004, Marial participated in youth leadership activities and sports as a mean of bringing young people together to know each other and also as a strategy to enable them to integrate well into their new home, Australia.


Ikenna Nwokolo is a senior lawyer and practice group leader at Slater  and  Gordon, one of Australia’s largest law firms, where he has worked for over 20 years. As a lawyer he has been involved in many successful high profile cases that have attracted wide media attention. Ikenna graduated from Melbourne University in 1994. He is Co- founder and Vice President of the Incubate foundation – a mentoring organisation to develop the leadership potential of African Australians and create employment pathways. Ikenna is the immediate past president of the Nigerian society of Victoria. He has also been a mentor with the African visitation and Mentoring program (AVAMP) set up to provide mentoring support to people from an African background who have been imprisoned in Melbourne. Ikenna is driven by his passion for inspiring and empowering people to reach their full potential so that they may in turn inspire and empower others and give back to the communities in which they live.


Dr. Abeba Tadesse Gebreselassie

Abeba has a research experience and community engagement. She is a Board Member of African Women Australia, Member of Australia Africa Business Council Vic, External Member of Australian Center for Intellectual Property in Agriculture (ACIPA) based at Griffith University, Secretary of African Professionals of Australia, VIC Chapter and Member of Ethiopian Community in Victoria. She has a PhD in law, Aarhus University, Denmark (2011), LLM in Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Max Planck Institute, MIPLC, Germany (2007), and Bachelor of Laws, Mekelle University, Ethiopia (2005). Abeba has been a postdoctoral fellow at Aarhus University (2011-2013), and she has been a visiting researcher at Intellectual Property Institute of Australia (IPRIA), University of Melbourne (1/2012-9/2012) and at the Australian Centre for Intellectual Property Rights in Agriculture (ACIPA), University of Queensland (10/2008-3/2009). Currently, Abeba is an Associate Research Fellow at Faculty of Business and Law, Deakin University, and she is a Sessional Lecturer at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE, NMIT. In her spare time, Abeba has a passion to engage herself in Community activities and willing to serve in voluntary capacity.


Santilla Chingaipe is an award nominated Journalist for SBS World News based in Melbourne. She reports for all SBS News platforms.

Santilla’s reporting has seen her travel to South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia where she filed stories and reports from. Additionally, she has exclusively interviewed some of Africa’s most prominent leaders, including Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, Swaziland’s Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Zambian Vice President Guy Scott, Seychelles President James Michel and the Gambia’s Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy.

Santilla also conducted an interview with the Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula in which he confirmed for the first time that Kenyan troops had gone into Somalia (SBS broke the news internationally).

Santilla’s work has been recognised with award nominations including being a double finalist for the United Nations Association of Australia for best radio documentary.

Santilla was born in Zambia and moved to Australia with her family at a young age. She began her career as a reporter for SBS Radio news. She earned a degree in professional communication, majoring in Politics and Economics from Melbourne’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in 2012.


Belinda Wandabwa is originally, from Kenya who arrived in Australia in 2001 with multilingual and diverse skills. Belinda’s passion is to make a difference through active participation and sharing her experience by caring for others. She actively engage in mentoring young generation those who called Australia as home and those who willing to contribute towards community.

Belinda graduated in Bachelor of health sciences and nursing degree from Flinders University as well as industry related certifications and training. She pursued her career, as a Palliative care Nurse Specialist in Melbourne before joining the aged care industry. Belinda always enjoys the challenges of leadership in the process of helping those who need support from different prospective.  She worked for Benetas (Broughton Hall) as the Clinical Services Manager in one of Victoria’s leading not-for-profit aged care service which committed to giving individuals the best possible care, regardless of their financial situation, lifestyle or cultural background.

Belinda career opportunity was progressed and she held the senior manager role at Baptcare in 2012 as the Manager and Director of Nursing.  Her role involves the management and running of one of the facilities within the organisation (Karana Community).  Baptcare is a not-for-profit organisation based in Victoria and Tasmania, Australia. The organisation seeks to ignite the flame of human vitality for children, families, older people, people with disabilities and asylum seekers.  Baptcare cater for a range of resident health and care needs through to high care, palliative care and respite care by employing dedicated professional like Belinda.

Belinda in her current role as a manager /director of nursing at Karana Community provides a caring and comfortable environment for multiple needs residents.  Further,   provide assistance from the most basic supervision right through to the full provision of expert intensive aged care for every aspect of daily living. In addition, Belinda in her spare time, enjoy mentoring youth with multiple barriers and challenges.  She is a dedicated professional who takes pride in serving the organisation and the community

 In addition to her professional role Belinda’s passion is working with young people and their families to engage in the community,  to support and advocate  for those in need.  She converses with clients from different background and different aged group, who can be in a difficult condition. Because of her ability to interact in a way that is beneficial to those who need assistance, she always happy in her work and duties. She is always dedicated to helping others who are disadvantaged and disenfranchised by supporting them in a practical and real way.  Sometimes she acts beyond the call of duty in order to support others.


Mrs Arhet Geberat is a Bi - Lingual Case Manager  at Mercy Mental Health Program, Victoria.

Arhet  provides mental health first aid training to African community leaders and workers to improve their mental health literacy, and to help them contribute in raising their community’s knowledge of the available mental health and other support services and how to access them.

She also provides stigma reduction training  and facilitates the delivery of culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate mental health care for members of African community who interact with mental health services.

Arhet has presented at the Western Cluster in 2007 annual conference and theTHEMHS conferences 3rd Western Australia transcultural mental health conference 2009.

Arhet has successfully provided six mental health first aid training courses to 66 African community leaders and  stigma reduction training to 12 Somalia women and among other achievements.



Girma Seid, since arriving in Australia, he has been involved in community services with the emerging African Community in the Northern Territory through advocacy, representing the community in various forums and consultation in particular regarding employment opportunities for African families arriving in Darwin, and organising various activities for young people through volunteer capacity. Also worked with Darwin High School as a Bi-Cultural worker; a position involved, providing information and advice to teachers and school staff regarding cultural and language matters and support and educate students and their parents about Australian education system. He  was also one of the founding members of African Australian Friendship Association of the Northern Territory, and involved in different roles including the Northern Territory Police Ethnic Advisory Group.


For four years worked as a Case Coordinator, with Melaleuca refugee Centre in Darwin, working with newly arrived families, in providing information and orientation, support them to access welfare, education, health and housing services and assist them during their initial settlement period, through intensive case coordination plan, referrals and needs assessment case management service; including Special Humanitarian program entrants and their sponsors. Also worked as a Program Coordinator for the Northern Territory Government funded “Families in Cultural Transition Program” which involves, providing workshop, training sessions and supervision of Bi-cultural workers, who facilitate 10-12 weeks workshops for newly arrived families about Australian service system. 

Currently coordinating a project with Centre for Multicultural Youth, in the Western suburbs of Melbourne, that aims to support young people from African backgrounds, who are currently disengaged or at high risk of being disengaged from education, training, employment and supportive environment. Through the program, the young people are assisted to overcome barriers, increase self confidence, develop their talents and make positive work and life changes. Working in collaboration with other community organisations and local police, young people are provided information about Australian education, health, welfare, justice and other service systems through group work, such as leadership camping program and mentors. The program also supports the young people to improve their relationship with their families and communities and the police. Young people are also referred to other services for specialized case management service including AOD services.


Tariro Mavondo is a Zimbabwean descendant Melbourne based artist.

Tariro is dedicated and committed to working with the creative industry, corporate sector and community and health services to provide professional pathways and mentoring programs for young Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Visibly Different artists.

She is a teaching artist and delivers movement-based creative arts community orientated programs that works with movement and dance, drawing, sound and voice, music, creative writing and poetry.

Tariro is the Producer of Africa’s Got Talent, the Artistic Associate at Metanoia Theatre based at the Mechanics Institute in Brunswick. She is currently an Ambassador of the Melbourne Theatre Company and Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Connect program. She is also currently working at Western Edge Youth Arts as a leading artist in various projects.

She trained as an actor at VCA where she was the 2011 recipient of the Irene Mitchell Award for Outstanding Actor in Third Year. Her recent roles include: Mukami Obanda in Channel 7’s Winners and Losers; Rutendo in Arrivals VCA Short; Amina in Red Stitch Theatre’s ‘Bellevile’; Michelle in The Hayloft Projects Arden versus Arden; Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe Racing Pulse Productions, Riverside and Belvoir in association with STARTS (2011-2013); ABC Reading of Reflections, New Poetry By African Women; Black Face White Mask’s Interactive (Education).

Tariro recently co-directed Fate a Creative Development 2014 (Arts Centre Melbourne).

Tariro played the role of Cleopatra in Eagle’s Nest’s Anthony and Cleopatra 2014; 2013 (Education);Tariro was an online chorus performer in PROMPTER Hydra Poesis  2013 which questioned the ethics and conflicts of today’s media environment, journalism practice and digital culture.

She is a State and National Australian Poetry Slam Finalist and performance poetry in Melbourne. She was a Founding Member of ‘Centre for Poetics and Justice’. She was part of the Global Poetics Tour 2011 with New York slam champions Mohagany Brown, Jive Poetics, Shane Koyczan. She curated a fundraising  spoken word event called Speak Easy Against Violence Towards Women for One Billion Rising Melbourne. She was a founding member of Still Waters Storytelling Collective.

In the past VASS and Tariro worked together in VASS' Anti Racism Action Band (A.R.A.B) where Tariro was involved in a performing arts program for disadvantaged and socially marginalised young people from diverse cultural backgrounds from Collingwood English Language School. Tariro performed at Collingwood English Language School as part of a Girl's Fun Festival and an International Women's Day event conducting an interactive workshop promoting storytelling and theatre performance.

Tariro also worked as a teaching artist for the African Voices of Carlton Project (2011) and 1oo Hundred Story Building in primary schools in the city of Braybrook and the city of Yarra. She also works as an MC for different municipalities and organizations.


Current and Future Projects

Africa's Got Talent

Through evaluations and consultations Tariro identified a need for young African Australian artists to develop peer to peer professional relationships with other young African Australian artists. She also identified a growing gap between African Australian artists with the wider mainstream creative industry. Tariro seeks to create professional pathways and mentoring programs with established organizations by introducing an Africa’s Got Talent Artistic Mentorship Program as part of Africa's Got Talent.


Africa’s Got Talent is a community arts initiative for African descendant Australian artists between the ages of 16-30. Tariro coordinates auditions in metropolitan and regional areas throughout Victoria. She organizes the Africa's Got Talent Performing Arts Competition in May. The Judges in 2014 include Deni Hines (Solo R&B Artist), Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe( Visual Artist, Composer Melbourne Now NGV), Lamine Sonko (Melbourne based Senegalese multi talented musician) and Chris Gill (Northside Records, 3RRR).

In September Tariro will be co-directing award winning playwright Neil Cole’s political satire ‘Billy Possible’.

Tariro will also be producing and performing in Flemington Theatre Group’s Zamunda directed by Ethiopian superstar Tesfaye Gebrehana as part of Fringe Festival in September.

Tariro will also be performing in Y? @ Melbourne Fringe.

Tariro will be playing the role of Glenna in Bobby Gould in Hell as part of Metanoia Theatre Company at the Mechanics Institute in October.

Tariro is a recipient of an Arts Victoria Grant and will be developing her first play Black Saturdays.

Black Saturdays centres around three Australian characters who a re building their identities and negotiating ways to fit into their new worlds. Tinashe commonly referred to her colleagues and friends as Tina was born in Zimbabwe and came to Australia with her family when she was five years old. Now a high impressionable young lawyer in her late twenties, working at one of the most reputable firms in Melbourne, Tina still feels like something is missing in her life, like a hole she has felt as a child growing up on foreign soil remains unfulfilled and is growing bigger. Until she meets her client Paul who leads her to discover her connection to the land.  

Paul is a thirty year old environmentalist and visual artist of Anglo-Celtic background who is ready to rebuild his home after losing it, his wife and baby in the Black Saturday fires five years ago. However he cannot get one section of it approved by council and he goes to seek legal advise and gets more than what he paid for, Tina turns his life upside down. Samuel a recent migrant to Australia has been retrenched from the SPS canning factory in Shepparton and is traveling reluctantly to Melbourne in pursuit for a new job. Luckily he stumbles on a building job in King Lake and ends up working and living with Paul for six months. Paul and Samuel's friendship deepens as they share experiences of being displaced and the trauma of losing their family. When Samuel and Tina meet tensions are high, it is less than cordial between them but as they get to know each other sparks begin to fly and they begin to see more of themselves in each other. Set in the beautiful  landscape of Victorian bush this love story is more than a triangle, it is an exploration of identity, belonging, acceptance and connection.

For more information about Tariro Mavondo please follow link below.


Monica Forson

Monica is a young woman of mixed Ghanaian and Australian descent who is currently undertaking a Masters in Social Work at The University of Melbourne. A former president of the Africa Club at the University of Melbourne, Monica is the inaugural Co-Founder of AASO.

Monica is a recipient of  the 2013 Leaders in Communities Award from the University of Melbourne which she received for her extensive voluntary and leadership experience in the community including being: a member of the Multifaith Multicultural Youth Network  to provide advice to the Victorian Government through the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship on issues and initiatives that affect young Victorians from culturally, religiously and linguistically diverse backgrounds; youth advisor to the Ghanaian Association of Victoria; steering committee member of Africa Day Australia and African Review Panel; and volunteer at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

Monica established AASO because she understood there was a strong need for an African voice on university campuses and felt an obligation to form an organisation which represented the interests of African students, providing them with tailored culturally relevant services and an arena to network and form meaningful relationships.


Mr. Bright Belemu Chinganya migrated to Australia from Zambia in 2002. He holds a Masters degree in Public Health (Health economics major) from Monash University, Masters Degree in International Finance from Deakin University, and a Bachelor of Business in Accounting and E-commerce from Charles Sturt University. Currently, working for Monash University as a Research Officer.


Career Profile Volunteering Positions

  • Chief Executive Officer-African Leadership, Learning & Advocacy Group (ALLAG) - Current

  • Director/Founder-Carers of Africa

  • President & Founder-Zambian Association for Victoria

  • Founder/Chairman Zambian Languages & Cultural School, Victoria

Board member

  • Regional Advisory Council for Victoria Multicultural Commission

  • African Leadership, Learning & Advocacy Group, (Chief Executive Officer)

  • African Review Panel

  • African Day Australia Organisation inc

  • Zambian Languages & Cultural School, Victoria



Ambassador for Peace- Universal Peace Federation, (2014)


Board Chairman African Leadership, Learning & Advocacy Group Inc.

The African Leadership, Learning and Advocacy Group Inc. (ALLAG) is an outward looking non profit organization which brings together a network of African and non African advocates, humanitarian workers and professionals to propose research driven solution-oriented strategies to engaging the African Diaspora both in Australia and abroad. To foster human rights principles, synergies and accountability of programs for African migrants in Australia and humanitarian efforts in African countries of origin


Board President Zambian Association for Victoria, Australia

Zambian Association for Victoria is a community oriented organisation and its aim is to help Zambians integrate with other nationalities in Australia.

Founder of Carers of Africa Inc. Established in 2014 to help the disadvantaged families in Africa lead health lives. The following are its main objectives:

  1. To help African disadvantaged families and communities in Africa lead healthy lives

  2. To collect and ship second hand or new wheels chairs, walking frames, walking sticks and other medical equipment to Africa

  3. Improve or build health facilities in disadvantages communities in Africa

  4. Help African disadvantaged families achieve millennium development goals number (4) Reduce child mortality & (5) Improve maternal health

  5. Coordinate with health workers going on holidays to African countries with health institutions to work as volunteers while on holidays

  6. Provide public health services such as counseling services and prevention of non-communicable diseases.

  7. Advocating for disadvantaged families

  8. Assist in conducting public health research programs to find a better way of improving health services delivery

  9. Help facilitating in providing home-based physiotherapy in remote places in Africa

  10. Helping strangers achieve their dreams


Rachel Riak has outstanding influencing role beyond the African community. Rachel had a significant contribution and promoting the African Australian Inclusion Program - AAIP(a join NAB and Jesuit Social Services initiative), designed to address unemployment in the African community by providing a six month fully paid work and learning experience in an Australian corporate environment.


Being an inspiring speaker and a visionary advocate; Rachel, has managed to influence senior leaders within NAB to expend the program from few temporary employment opportunities to many permanent roles within NAB. The outcome of her advocacy, the National Australia Bank received a prestigious Melbourne City Award in recognition of the NAB contribution to Melbourne Community in 2010. Rachel contribution to the community development she was awarded, in 2008 Beyond and Above Award from Prime Minister Office.


Similarly, Rachel is a recipient of the Australian Human Resources Institutes (AHRI) Cross Cultural Management Award 2012. Rachel was honoured to receive the Friend of Africa award presented to NAB 2012.


Rachel is passionate about helping others and believes that everyone can make a difference - no matter how big or small that is. Rachel, teamed up with others to set up Australia International Volunteers (AIV) a not for profit organisation promoting community development in developing countries including capacity building, education and health and wellbeing.


Also Rachel believes in creating a meaningful connection with Africa to help Africans to develop to their full potentials. In pursuant of that passion she took a trip to South Sudan and Uganda in July 2014 to visit the internally displaced people camps in South Sudan and Refugee camps in northern Uganda, where she witnessed alarming living conditions of South Sudanese people in both places.  


Rachel graduated with MBA and Bachelor of Computer Science from Victoria University and Monash University; currently she is working with National Australia Bank as Business Analyst.


Toltu Tufa specializes in how to connect with diverse communities. She does it in schools, hospitals, universities and is one of the brains behind transforming local community issues into national campaigns and raising almost half a million dollars in the last three years to support community projects.


Since 2006, Toltu has featured in all forms of media  as a television presenter on comedy show Salam Café  and published tips on how to develop sustainable community partnerships. Australia’s Minister for Health was impressed with her efforts in violence prevention and in 2010 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd praised the violence prevention program Toltu expanded as an example of best practice programming. She’s got a knack for public campaigning and recently founded Afaan Publications to promote  Africa’s 4th most widely spoken Oromo language. Since 2013, Toltu has presented at international speaking circuits and was awarded Africa Media Australia’s ‘Proactive woman in Leadership’ award. This year Toltu received the K.L.I.F Icon award in Malaysia for her efforts in community development and plans to embark on a world tour in November to promote children’s books, after raising over $100 000 in one month.


Toltu currently works at the Royal Womens Hospital part time, and is undertaking PhD research in the Psychology of Language. She also likes to post cool things on Instagram if you'd like to connect, you can find Toltu on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.


Benyam is an event manager and philanthropic who assisting the community in new country Australia. He started organizing event since 2013 to promote new Ethiopian singer to Australia spartanly to Ethiopian communities till now to engage the Ethiopian community and to develop cultural interaction across Australia. He reached communities in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Tasmania, as inspirational leader to another members of the community.


He promoted businessmen as well as establishing charity group" EGNA Le EGNA none profitable org & director of this charity group. Currently he supported and sponsored 10 needy children from Ethiopia through fundraising activity, to help people those children in need. Benyam by profession studied diploma of automotive technology at box hill.


Benyam also a managing director (owner) Abo Dire Entertainment and giving chance to amateur and famous artists by promoting to various stakeholders  all over Australia. A founder of ABYSSINIAN charity organization, he is dedicated to help those who are need in Australia as well as in his home country.



Osman Shihaby is active community member of the Eritrean community in Victoria. He is serving wider African community using his multi skills and resources. Osman participated in different community activity as Multi Media worker, Photographer, Video camera operator, Radio transmission coordinator, website developer and newspaper editing in various location with different community,  in particular working with Eritrean Community in Victoria.

Osman also closely working with other stakeholders such as Victorian police, 3CR Community Radio, Unity Cap and Harmony day (Footy), African footy, Catholic care (Dad and kids camp), Green party, African Think tank, Australian clean day, {AAA}African Australian Association, BEJA Community

Melbourne.  In addition to his voluntary work Osman also worked as a camera man on Mandela memorial service at Federation square. Osman is producer of Eritrean Voices, and every Monday night he make radio.


Shillar Sibanda migrated to Australia in 1996 from Zimbawbe, currently working as a Forensic Psych nurse at a maximum prison.  Previously an Accountant before changing to nursing. Shillar have always believed in community work and working collectively for the betterment of the society.  Shillar when first arrived in Australia attempted to form a Zim Community, due to small population unable to do so at that time.  Eventually in 2004 she was able to register Zim community in order to empower those who are in need, since then and she has worked tirelessly to encourage community to work together and share her own story to the wider public.


Currently Shilar is a chairperson of Zim community, but also work with other organisations like WFWP, Mothers On Prayer (MoP), ADA, African Graduation and have a charity at home Zim, currently assisting rural primary school with building materials, books, stationery, computers etc. Shillar is a steering committee member of Africa Day Australia Inc and engaged in providing a platform to celebrate the diverse African Australia cultures; promote the contribution and successes of African Australians ; encourage their empowerment within mainstream society and acknowledge the economic and cultural benefits that they bring to Victoria and the whole Australia as whole.

Shillar has a plan to continue to work with both Zim community and other communities/ individuals in shining a positive light and provide advice to youth, at the same time involve in fundraising activity for overseas charity.


More profiles to be added


Dr Apollo Nsubuga-Kyobe AFAIM, MAHRI, FAFBE, JP.   One of the African-Australians who has made great and significant contributions in community work, academia, research, and teaching; he currently involved in different projects linking Africa and Australia.

He has been involved with a wide range of community based and professional membership activities principally for contributing to the development and smooth management on the issues of the emerging communities especially those relating to African-Australians in Victoria and Australia in general.  He has been (now for three terms) an Executive Member of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV) (State peak body), a member of the Victoria Multicultural Commission, Hume Regional Advisory Committee (a Victoria Government Advisory body- appointed for two years initially), Chair of the D.H.S Victoria Multicultural Advisory Committee, Board member and Vice President of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton & Districts (Regional).  He has been a charter member of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Executive Board member of the African Think Tank Inc., and the Public Relations Officer of the Eastern and Central Africa Communities of Victoria (EACACOV, now African Communities Foundation Inc. (AFCFI)   (-State-wide Organisation) as well President of GV African Communities Association and Public Officer/Treasurer of the GV Ethnic Professionals Association (GVEPA). 

He has been Vice President of the African Studies Association of the Australasia and the Pacific Inc. (AFSAAP) for four terms until 2011. Among key AFSAAP’s objectives include: promoting research and teaching of African Studies mainly in Australia and the Pacific and to facilitate contact among scholars and students in the field of African Studies and other related knowledge advancements of various types.  As AFSAAP Vice President he has worked closely with the Presidents, Associate Professor David Lucas 2008 - 2009 and Dr Fernanda Claudio 2010 - 2011 to achieve a number of things for Africans, which include ensuring further advances in African Studies in Australia and the Pacific and creating more links and engagements with Africans, their issues, scholars, and key institutions there.  Refer to the submissions to and outcomes the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade: Inquiry into Australia’s Relationship with the countries of Africa. 

Apollo currently lectures in International Management the School of Business, Department of Management at La Trobe University and he has taught various courses in Management.  He has researched and published in various journals and books mainly for effective and efficient delivery of settlement services to ‘emerging communities’ and African-Australians in particular.  He is leading teams undertaking major projects in the Goulburn Valley Victoria aimed at minimising wastage in the utilisation of the migrants’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs).  This research project also aims to suggest how such KSAs could be used as a spring board for new economic and social contribution to the region and how the migrant communities would subsequently benefit through personal growth, integration and inclusion.  Since 1999/2000 Apollo Nsubuga-Kyobe has lead teams one of them mapped, evaluated, and benchmarked for betterment of the settlement services delivery to the Africans Communities in Victoria. A report was written for DIAC used as a blueprint to deliver settlement services.  Apollo’s work has been recognised both internationally and nationally resulting into being listed under “Maquis of Who’s who in the World”, and on similar grounds the Victoria State Government has twice awarded him. 

In 2006 for an Outstanding Contribution to the Community and in 2008 the Victorian Refugee Recognition Record (VRRR) Award and he is also “Justice of the Peace” in Victoria after training as Independent Person called on by police as when needs be.   On the Australian Day 2009, the City of Greater Shepparton (COGS) awarded Apollo with “An Academic Contribution Award to the Community” a recognition of his use of the academic position, research, and community engage to make a significant contribution the GV emerging communities.

He is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, Member of the Asia Pacific Human Resource Institute, Fellow and Executive Member of the Asian Forum for Business Education (AFBE), Editorial Board of AFBE Journal and Vice President of the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) and Editorial Board member of the Australasian Review of African Studies, an academic Journal published by the African Studies Association of Australasia and The Pacific.


Abeselom Nega has been a community advocate for many years. His work included being a founding Deputy Chair of Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT ), member of Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) Management Committee, founding Deputy Chair of the Annerley Community Centre and many others.

He is a member of a number of community based organisations. He is an Executive Member of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’

Councils of Australia as the Chair of the New and Emerging Communities policy advisory committee, NAATI Board Member, Past Immediate Chair and Spokesperson for the Federation of African Communities’ Councils, a past Board member of the Cabramatta Community Centre and member of Australian Human Rights Commission Project Steering Committee. He has presented papers at various national and international conferences. (See for example: appendix 1, 2, 3)

Abeselom has 25 years of leadership experience in public, private and community services sectors. He has served for many years as the State and General Manager in AMES, which is the largest specialist services provider to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Australia. Abeselom is currently working as the CEO of iEmpower – a Melbourne based service provider for young people from refugee and humanitarian entrant backgrounds.


Rugare came to Australia from Zimbabwe by himself when he was 16 years old. He then raised over $100k to get a tertiary education and successfully completed a double degree at Monash University in Law and Honours in Arts (European Studies and French). After practising as a property lawyer at a prominent Australian law firm then joined an innovative start up called Ducere. At Ducere, Rugare is the Director of Corporate Affairs and General Counsel and is responsible for growing the business into a multimillion-dollar company in less than a year. 

Ducere believes in the democratisation of quality education for the whole world and have created innovative course where students learn from global leaders such as Presidents, Prime Ministers and CEO's of the largest companies all around the world. Rugare is responsible for bringing these courses into Africa by negotiating Ducere's global deal with the University of Mauritius. This means that the African continent will have access to quality education affordably. 

Rugare is the Founder of the Gomo Foundation. The Gomo Foundation is to provide girls with a skill set whether it is a traditional education or a non-traditional education so that they can live the life that they want and impact their family and their community. Though the Gomo Foundation is not a business, Rugare runs it like a business so that the outcomes are maximised for those affect. Rugare has partnered with some of Australia’s leading corporations for the operational side of the Gomo Foundation so that all donations from the public directly go to the project with 0% administration costs. 

In addition, Rugare is the Founder of Black Australian Model (BAM). Due to the lack of black and ethnic models in the media, magazines, advertisement, Rugare created BAM to empower people to pursue their aspirations and start living their authentic life. His message is that, no matter where you have come from and what you have been through, in Australia you can pursue your aspirations. Rugare is an example to those who have moved to Australia who think that they need to be lawyers, accountants or engineers and encourages them to really pursue what they really want to do may it be carpentry, being a sculpture or artist instead of doing what they think society expects them to do. Rugare is unique in this regard because he himself is an accomplished and successful lawyer and negotiator and yet can pursue a modelling career at the same time.

Also, Rugare provided a remarkable contribution on the Board of the Australian African Business Council (Vic) (AABC) where he was a committee member. The AABC promotes trade between Australia and African countries. Rugare has provided advice to both Australian and African Ambassadors/High Commissioners regarding strategic areas where both a particular country and Australia may benefit.

Lastly, Rugare was a volunteer solicitor with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, where he provided legal advice to African and French speaking asylum seekers. Rugare spent over 2 years with the ASRC contribution to giving hope to those who were fleeing persecution and also was committed in seeing their transition from their home countries into the Australian context.


Kassahun Seboqa is the Executive Producer of SBS Radio's Amharic language section. He joined SBS as a University intern in 2005 working on SBS’s Amharic language program.

Kassa studied journalism in Ethiopia and at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Since then he has worked as a journalist in the print media in Ethiopia, as a Freelance Writer, Reporter, and Editor-In-Chief.

He migrated from Ethiopia to Brisbane, Australia in 1998 and set up the first Amharic language radio program in Australia with 4EB AM. Kassa served as the main broadcaster, panel operator, and as the group’s Convener from 1998 to 1999. Since then he has been working with a financial company as a senior consultant and has continued to follow international affairs. Kassa completed a BA in International Studies at RMIT University in Melbourne in 2007 with a particular focus on Ethiopian diaspora affairs.

Kassa delivered Australian, homeland and international new and current affairs to the community with fair and balance high standard professional journalistic manner. He hosted many guests such as; Community Leaders, Ambassadors, Opposition party leaders, Academics in variety of professional field, Religious leaders, Entertainers, Journalists, Head of States. Kassa is personally committed to serving his community and giving them a reasoned voice in Australia.



Abraham Mamer, a South Sudanese is the Multicultural Affairs Manager at the Darebin City Council local government in Victoria State.  Darebin covers a very large area and has the highest proportion of overseas-born citizens of any council in Australia. Mr Mamer international reputation in Social Policy has earned him a managerial position to develop settlement plans and policies for African Australian Community in the Brotherhood of St Laurence – working for an Australia free of poverty    

Throughout his career, Abraham Mamer has been a leader and a pioneer in developing personal and organisational policies and programs to the humanitarian resettlement of refugees.  Because of his generosity and effort, tens of thousands of migrants to New Zealand and Australia have been assisted in making a positive adjustment to their new cultures. 

The innovative and progressive leadership that is characteristic of him is shown in the many organisations that he has been a founder or board member of, including:

  • Founding Member: AUT ESOL Advisory Board
  • Founding Member: African Centre for Education – UNITEC NZ
  • Founder and Advisor of National Refugee Communities Network
  • 1999 – 2001 President of the Sudanese Association Inc. NZ
  • 2001 –2002 Executive Member NZ Refugee Council
  • 2005 – 2006 Chairman Board of Directors Refugee As Survivors (RAS)
  • Board Member: Centre for Refugee and Migrant Health, Auckland University of Technology
  • Board Member and Trustee: African Think Tank, Victoria, Australia
  • Advisor: Sudanese Community Association of Australia
  • Member: Asian Network Inc

Abraham has been equally generous at lending his time and experience as a speaker, participant, and presenter at many seminars and conferences, among them:

  • Co-convenor, UNESCO conference on Diversity in Education, August 2004.  As a result of his work at this conference, Abraham was presented with a medal from the King of Thailand.
  • Co-organiser and Convenor, The Inaugural International Asian Health and Wellbeing Conference 2004
  • Co-presenter, AUT Conference in Education in Diverse Cultures
  • Keynote Speaker, Children & Young People As Citizens: Participation Provision and Protection Conference
  • Keynote Speaker, Conference on Community languages and English for Speakers of Other languages, Auckland, 2008

Abraham Mamer has also published and presented numerous papers devoted to raising awareness and understanding of refugee and migrant issues at national and international conferences, among which are:

  • Making Progress at Last: The Auckland Somali Community Education Programme (with Karen McDermott, published by Waikato University)
  • Barriers challenging education provision for new immigrant students in New Zealand schools
  • Six papers at CLESOL (Conference on Community Languages and ESOL in New Zealand) conferences over seven years:
    • Experience of Sudanese refugee Students in NZ schools
    • ESOL students’ English Language Acquisition and learning shift
    • Proficiency in English and impact on other subjects
    • Heart and Mind in teaching students from the refugee backgrounds
    • Does one-size-fits-all?
    • Refugee Family Reunification Policy Impact on Family Resettlement Outcomes (published by Childrenz Issues. Vol. 10, No. 1, 2006)
  • Key note speaker on: Minorities and Security  - 12th International Metropolis Conference Melbourne 2007


Taklo Teshome came to Australia in 2002 and his first settlement was in Tasmania (Hobart) until he moved to Melbourne in 2006

Taklo’s active involvement in social justice movements and community activities, dates back from his high school ages to Sudan refugee camps.  After fleeing out of Ethiopia in fear of political persecution, Taklo sough refuge in Sudan, where the UNHCR accepted him as a political refugee.  While awaiting resettlement Taklo served Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers in various capacities. Among other things, he was a representative and spokesperson of the Ethiopian refugees in Sudan refugee camps. He engages in various advocacy and human rights and liaising affairs with various intergovernmental organisations including the UNHCR, Red Cross and Amnesty International.

Since Taklo was resettled to Australia, he served as the Chairpersons of the Ethiopian community in Tasmania. In this capacity, Taklo was involved in numerous community and inter-agency organisation's activities including appearing before the Tasmanian parliament to give testimony about the Ethiopians who are languishing in various refugee camps and pleaded the Australian government to resettle more Ethiopians to Australia. Taklo’s activities to Ethiopians in Tasmania also include working as an interpreter under AMIGOS Translate, as driving instructor and community guide.

In 2004, SBS Australia broadcasted a documentary titled, ‘Taklo Driving’. This documentary was aired across Australia, and its purpose was to show how Africans in Australia may find driving difficult, but they can also learn easily if they can get the necessary assistance

Recently, Taklo has published two books entitled ‘the Bloody Era’ part I and Part II. Both books have been widely distributed in different part of the world and read by Ethiopians both in Ethiopia and abroad. 

Moreover, Taklo administers his own website http://ethiofitih.com/  and he is known for his regular contributions to SBS Amharic and other web based Medias wiring commentaries and providing critical analysis on various issues involving Ethiopia and Ethiopians. 

Taklo believes that unity gives power and Ethiopians should stay united, and maintain their solidarity with other African brothers and sisters.  


Mbene  Letsamao- Lindemann 

Nurse trained in Botswana Africa Diploma In General Nursing, Diploma in Midwifery, Diploma in Nurse Anaesthesia Gaborone, University of Botswana. In Botswana worked in both Government and Private Hospitals. Was involved in Accreditation Programmes.

Mbene migrated to Australia in 2005, during the time that she has been here in Australia, Mbene have worked in various Public and Private Hospitals.

Mbene has worked in various roles, as a Registered Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist, ANUM and Acting NUM roles.  Got into education full time in 2011. Then continued to complete Masters of Health Sciences (Clinical Education.) Have been working in Anaesthetics/PACU St Vincent’s Private Melbourne since. During the time of working in Australia Mbene has nurtured, mentored nurses from all aspects of life.

In her role as a nurse educator  she is involved in educating and nurturing all nurses with the vast cultural and diversity nursing that we have in Australia and to see it grow .

A member of a few Professional Associations,

  • Australian Society of Post Anaesthesia and Anaesthesia Nurse (ASPAAN). Committee Member.

  • Australian Nurses Federation Union  (ANF)

  • Botswana Australia Victoria Association (BAVA) Vice President.

  • Mbene also involved in volunteering at the St Mary’s House of Welcome in Melbourne.


Presented a paper in Darwin 2012 For Australian College of Operating Room Nurses (ACORN)     National Conference.


Mekonnen Kebede

B.Sc., BSc. Hons. M.App. Sc., MASM

Ethiopian born African Australian; Mekonnen graduated from Addis Ababa University with B.Sc in 1981 and worked as a teacher. He lived in Zimbabwe for 3 years where he was employed as a teacher by the Zimbabwean Ministry of Education before coming to Australia in 1985.  

Mekonnen was employed by The Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS-VIC) in 1990, as a medical scientist, where he has been serving the organisation for the last 22 years and reached to the level of senior scientist. He has published scientific journals both within Australia and internationally as an author and co-author for the promotion and advancement of his scientific field, microbiology.

Mekonnen was awarded the Red Cross medal for long service and Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence “Meritorious Service to the Community”.

Mekonnen always believed in community building and creating a healthy society. He has been instrumental in establishing the Ethiopian Community Association in Victoria (ECAV) in 1985 which was incorporated in 1986. He was elected to serve ECAV as a chairperson between 1988 and 1991. In 1992 with the help of the Toorak Anglican and Uniting churches, Mekonnen and other colleagues founded the premier Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Australia.

Mekonnen shows a strong interest in the development of services for the disadvantage and marginalised communities, not only those from Africa, but from a diverse range of communities. He maintains keen interest in international development, social justice, humane rights and health.

Mekonnen is contributing to the community at large by sitting on different boards and advisory committees.


Stephen graduated in Oct 1990 with MBBS from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria and has been practicing as a GP since that time.

Stephen moved to South Africa in 1995, where he enrolled in Masters degree program in Family Medicine at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Subsequently Stephen obtained his GP fellowship, the MCFP(SA) from the college of Medicine, South Africa in 1999.

Stephen and his family moved to Australia in 2000, 1st practicing in Queensland, undertook further studies and obtained his Australian GP fellowship (FRACGP), in 2003.

Stephen joined the Breed street clinic in 2002 and has remained with this practice since then.

Stephen's medical interest covers the whole spectrum of general practice, in particular, the  psychological problems,  musculo-skeletal, cardiovascular, endocrine, care of the elderly and occupational health care in General Practice.

Stephen provides GP occupational health care for the staff of several large employers in the Latrobe Valley.

Stephen also regularly visits the local aged care and residential facilities to care for residents..

Stephen lives with his wife Bukky and three children: Jennifer, Victor and Maryanne in Traralgon and his hobies are soccer, table tennis and bicycle riding.



Founded in Australia in 2008, Asanti Dance Theatre is an internationally recognised African drum and dance performance company that have worked with professionals, students and travelers from around the world. They play, teach, perform and entertain leaving a long lasting impression on those who cross their paths.

Directed by Appiah Annan, Australia’s leading African drum and dance practitioner, this highly energetic drum and dance ensemble present an unforgettable experience of African music, dance and culture fused with the contemporary influences of Australia.

Collectively the group have performed throughout Africa, Europe and Australia with notable performances including headlining the New Years Eve celebrations at Federation Square (2009/10), Woodford Folk Festival (2008/09), Australian Dance Awards (2009), choreographing and performing with Sir Richard Branson (2010), and Moomba (2011) to name a few.


Bitsat was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She attended Felege Yordanos Elementary School (starting at age 4) and Shemeles Habte Secondary School in Addis Ababa. After finishing school, a friend heard Bitsat’s voice and encouraged her to perform. One thing led to another and Bitsat found herself beginning her singing career in azmari bets 20 years ago. An azmari bet is a traditional venue where musicians (azmaris), including singers, instrumentalists and dancers, perform traditional and popular music in Ethiopia. Not long after Bitsat’s talent was ‘discovered’, she began touring the world, performing in the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and throughout Africa. 

See video 1 and 2

Before long, Bitsat had begun recording her songs, working with all the big names of that musical era. Mulatu Astatke, who visited Australia twice in 2010, and is often referred to as the father of Ethio-jazz, arranged the music for Bitsat’s first cassette recording. Bitsat performed and recorded alongside other big names: Tilahun Gessesse (singer), Gultu Tefera (arranger), Tederos Afro A.K.A. Teddy Afro (composer), Moges Teka (composer), Mulugeta Tesfaye (lyricist) and Yelema Gebreabe (lyricist), among others. Her lyricists were masters of the Amharic poetic form “wax and gold” – a type of traditional poetry characterised by double meanings. For 20 years, Bitsat ran her own successful business in Melbourne, named BITSAT (“gift for God”), and became famous for her witty and skillful improvisations of “wax and gold” poetry. In her spare time, Bitsat has always loved reading books and cooking traditional Ethiopian food.


Faustina Agolley is an Australian television presenter best known for her role as the host of long running Australian music program Video Hits on Channel 10. She was also the host of late night game and gadget review program Cybershack and is a graduate from the University of Melbourne and RMIT University.

Faustina's father is a Ghanian and her mother is a Chinese Malaysian. Faustina completed two degrees across three Universities – a joint degree in Media & Communication and Geography at the University of Melbourne and Sydney University as well as Media Studies with a major in television and social science at RMIT University.

While completing her University degrees, Faustina also worked as a model in Melbourne and Sydney. Faustina was the face of Bonds and appeared in the campaign alongside Miranda Kerr. She also worked as a researcher for The Great Outdoors and worked on set of kids’ program Hi-5

Faustina was the host of Australia’s most watched music program Video Hits for five years where she interviewed some of the world’s biggest artists including the Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Adele, Jack White, Muse, Green Day, Rihanna, Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones, Sinead O'Connor and Neil Finn.

Faustina also hosted live events for Video Hits from Australia’s major capital cities and the Make Poverty History Concert where U2 and Pearl Jam made a surprise performance.

Faustina traveled the world for Video Hits giving the first Australian TV interview with Adele and Florence and The Machine in London in 2009, The Black Eyed Peas upon the release of their LP, The End in Paris in as well as Muse upon the release of The Resistance, in Lake Como. Faustina also covered interviews in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Tokyo and Stockholm

Faustina is the ambassador for the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, a foundation that aims to help close the indigenous literacy gap. Faustina is also patron of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has been the supporter of Girls’ Night In, World Environment Day, Coastcare, Together.com and Reconciliation Australia.


EDUCATION:  Dr Yusuf Sheikh Omar, PhD in refugee studies from La Trobe University, title of PhD “ Integration Form Youth Perspectives: A comparative Study of Young Somali Men in Melbourne (Australia) and Minneapolis (USA)”; Masters of Educational Leadership and Management, from La Trobe University, Australia; A second Master of Human Science (Teaching Arabic as a Second Language) from International Islamic University, Malaysia; Bachelor or Education  from International University of Africa, Sudan; and numerous diplomas including  diploma in “Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution and Peace Building from  International Peace and Security Institute (IPSI based in Washington DC), in partnership with John Hopkins University (Italy); and certificate IV in Training and Assessment from Victoria University, Australia. 

EXPERIENCE: Yusuf taught at Victoria and La Trobe Universities; and worked as a researcher at The University of Melbourne. Currently, he works as a researcher at Victorian Transcultural Mental Health, St Vincent's Hospital. Yusuf Published widely in national and international academic journals as well as in the leading Australian newspapers including The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Yusuf is writer, a poet, peace activist and passionate with refugees, asylum seekers and people in difficult situations e.g. displaced people and those living in war-torn countries. Yusuf was a former member of African Ministerial Consultative Committee for the Australian Federal Government (2012-2013). He is also an independent consultant on intercultural and forced migration issues. Yusuf is the founder and first president of Somali Australian Friendship Association, an active member of African Think Tank, a board member of External Education Advisory Group of Victoria Police, a board member of member of the Victorian Cooperative on Children's Services for Ethnic Groups (VICSEG); a former panel member of Refugee Scholarship Committee of Department of Justice, Victoria, and a former board member of  Austin Hospital Community Advisory Committee. Since 2010, Yusuf  has been organising annual African graduation ceremonies at the Parliament House of Victoria. 

AWARDS: Yusuf received numerous awards including “Ambassador for Peace” from The Universal Peace Federation(2013); “Banyule Community Volunteer Award” from Banyule City Council (2011); Spectrum Seeds for Growth” from Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre (2010); Refugee Award” from Equality and Diversity Centre, La Trobe University (2010); Outstanding Service to the Community” from Parliament of Victoria (2008);  Victorian Refugee Recognition Record”  from Victorian Multicultural Commission held at Immigration Museum, Melbourne (2005); Australia Day Award: Service Above Self” from Rotary Club Of Rosanna, Melbourne, (2005).


Nyadol Nyuon

Nyadol was born in a United Nation Refugee camp in Ethiopia and lived in Kakuma Refugee Camp, in Kenya for most of her childhood. In 2005 Nyadol and her family received a humanitarian visa to resettled in Australia.

Nyadol speaks three languages; English, Kiswahili and Nuer. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree (majoring in Psychology) and she is currently in her final year of graduate law (JD) at The Melbourne University. From March 2014, Nyadol will start working as a Trainee Lawyer at Arnold Bloch Leibler, a premier Australian commercial law firm.

Since she arrived Nyadol has worked to increase awareness of issues affecting the lives of African Australian youth and their community in general. Some of the organisations she has worked with include: Centre for Australian Women Issues; Centre for Multicultural Youth; South- Sudan development Agency; Department of Justice (Victoria); Oxfam Australian; Sudanese Lost Boy of Australia; Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Right Commission and others.

She was also a board member of The African Think Tank (2010); The Defence Reserve Support Council (Victoria, 2011) and Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria. Currenlty, Nyadol is the Ambassador to the Social Studio (Social enterprise) and one of the Australia’s Day Ambassador for the State of Victoria (Since 2012). 


 Etienne T Dinanga is a Congolese-Australian musician and youth worker with a passion for service. An accomplished musician in his own country, Etienne performed as part of an elite musical group employed to perform at government events however was forced to flee after the onslaught of war. 

Since arriving in Australia in 2001, he has performed extensively at festivals, community events, schools, and churches with his band Vex Congo, inspiring and uplifting Australian audiences with their sweet harmonies and irresistible rhythms and their powerful message of faith in God even in the darkest of times.  Vox Congo were awarded Best African Gospel Band Award in Australia and have been described as ‘some of the best soukous sounds Australia has ever heard.’

Etienne has also collaborated with numerous other artists. He has performed as part of the duo ‘Etienne and Rene’ as well as helping to establish the a cappella group ‘Kundalila.’ 

While for Etienne music has always been a tool for expressing his faith, promoting social justice, and revealing the universalism of human experience across diverse cultures, he has always had a particular passion for using his music to empower and inspire young people to achieve their full potential.  It is a passion that drew him to conducting presentations and workshops in schools, working with church youth groups, and finally leading him in 2007 to complete his studies in youth work at RMIT in Melbourne.  Since then, Etienne has worked in a number of different community organizations and currently works with young people exiting custody at Brosnan Youth Services. 


Hassan Omar arrived in Australia in August 1983 on a scholarship from his motherland Somalia. As soon as he arrived up until his untimely death on 11th March 2009, he worked tirelessly to help others, building bridges between Australians and his fellow Africans from the Horn. As President of HARDA, and in every action and deed, Hassan lived the life of a true humanitarian.

His commitment to his ‘brothers and sisters’ in Africa and Australia was legendary. He was never daunted by ‘people in high places’ and would always pursue his agenda at every opportunity.
Together with this commitment to ‘the cause’ was a dedication to lifelong learning and growth, not just for himself but for countless others that he pushed to achieve. In 1985 Hassan received his Postgraduate Diploma in Ecosystem Management from the University of New England. He continued his studies and gained a Certificate of Interpreting Preparatory Paraprofessional level, a Certificate in Community Welfare Work and a Diploma in Community Welfare Work in rapid succession. These qualifications were in addition to the Diploma in Animal Science and Range Management and the Certificate in Wildlife Management earned by Hassan back in Africa.

In 1993 he established the Horn of Africa Settlement Group which helped to settle more than twenty families from the Horn of Africa. Hassan also started the Somali Community Association and the Ogaden Relief Association to help the troubled people from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. He was the founder of the Voiceless Children’s Network and an active executive member of the African Communities Council. In 2003 he founded HARDA and was president for five years to 2008, then Director of Overseas Aid in 2008-2009.

Hassan took it upon himself to assist anyone in need and did this with sincerity and compassion. He always said that he belonged to the ‘greater global family’ and would not refuse anyone in need of help. He will be greatrly missed by his loved ones and the greater global family.

He is survived by his wife Kathy and four children - Deeqo, Aden, Jamaal and Salah.


Anes Mohamed arrived in Melbourne, Australia as an Eritrean refugee in 1995. In 1999 Anes completed VCE year 12 and was accepted in to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s Bachelor of Electronics Engineering, Anes graduated in 2003. Since, Anes has worked on many significant engineering projects, however he always had the passion for helping people and making a difference in the world. Anes started working with youth and in particular with African youth at the grass root level. Anes’s leadership in making a difference extended across the sea’s into Africa where he raised awareness and raised much needed funds for projects in Africa.

Anes started working for Government, community and employment organisations in African populated areas where he educated the community and employers large and small in tolerance, discrimination, building bridges and encouraging social cohesion, which resulted in many social achievements, some people nick named him “Bridger” from his building bridges work in the community. Anes went on to being an advisor to community, local councils and government organisations. Anes also featured as a motivational speaker at various events.  

In 2008 Anes founded and established “Social Cohesion Inc.” an official community based organisation to benefit the African and the wider community as a whole, with the vision to empower, guide and achieve dreams. Anes named the specialised branch of social cohesion Inc.’s African Australian service “A2” which he calls the formula of progress as Africans in Australia. A2 was quickly becoming the first choice and the one stop shop for many youth and parents looking for assistance with direction for their kids. A2 was one of the first African Australian organisation to connect with social media and today with thousands of followers A2 updates the community on current local African & general affairs as well as opportunities and awareness. A2’s employment department was recognised in the Australian Human Rights Commission 2010 African Australian researched report. Anes encourages members of the community to get involved and volunteer their time to make a difference in their community.

Also in 2008 Anes officially co-founded and established “Pen & Paper Inc. with a concept to empower refugees in Africa with education as a means out of poverty. Pen & Paper Inc. raised awareness and engaged the wider community to participate in making a difference. As a result schools were built, stationary, and school uniforms and much more was made accessible to vulnerable refugees. Pen & Paper Inc. connects with hundreds of supporters of the cause from all over the world via social media. Anes encourages members of the community to get involved in making a difference in the world by volunteering their time with Pen & Paper Inc.

Anes’s entrepreneurial mindset and ability to multi task to extraordinary proportions has lead him to establishing multiple successful businesses in various industries in which they employ dozens of people, and give back to the community by funding projects and events, those companies include; “Proactive Cleaning’ a Melbourne based cleaning company with contracts nationally. “Provider Brokered” a recruitment and training provider, as well as a specialist career and business development consultancy. “Public Web” a website builder, domain registrar, and internet marketing company.

In his late 20’s Anes is a humble man that is always endeavouring to achieve more and he promises that much more is on the pipeline and time is of the essence


Born in southern Sudan, Kot Monoah was forced to flee a civil war when he was four after his family’s home town was attacked. He arrived in Australia in 2004 as a 21-year-old refugee. He and his family had spent 12 years in refugee camps, surviving civil war, attacks by wild animals, malaria, cholera and more.
After graduating from Victoria University 2009 with a Bachelor of Laws, Kot took up the position of a community liaison officer with Victoria Police where he worked with new migrants to build understanding between the police and the community.
Since arriving in this country, Kot has worked to increase awareness of issues affecting the lives of African Australians through his affiliation with organisations such as the Spectrum, Victoria Police, VICSEG, Migrant Resource Centres, the Fitzroy Community Legal Service and various Sudanese community organisations.
In October 2010, Kot was admitted as a solicitor and commenced work as a lawyer with Slater & Gordon, a high-profile law firm. He currently works as a personal injury lawyer working in the suburb of Sunshine specialising in motor vehicle accident claims and WorkCover claims
Kot has presented at conferences, such as Refugee Week in 2011, as well as a number of forums speaking on issues relating to employment and education that impact the settlement of African Australians in Victoria and around the country.
Kot has published occasionally on the Melbourne University AuSud Media Blog to advocate for the negative misrepresentation of Sudanese in the media.


Martha Tsegaw Menda was Born and raised in Addis Ababa –Ethiopia

She is a Radio Journalist with nearly 13 years of experience. Martha served as senior program producer and news caster for Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency .

As part of her successful journey through Journalism career she managed to work with one of highly influential international media called BBC world trust as a Health promotion writer producer and announcer.

She is also one the founder of the first FM radio station in the history of Ethiopian Electronic media.

She had participated in several International trainings with BBC world trust, DW (Dutch) German radio; MASHAV in Israel . Those trainings provided her the necessary knowledge about Media strategy for social change.

Martha Joined SBS Amharic Radio program in 2004.

She is a pioneer Melbourne correspondent for the program. Her program covers Community, Religion Culture, women, food, Youth and entertainment. SBS Amharic program is now considered as one of the most credible and independent source of information for Amharic speaking listeners. Martha plays significant role for the program success.

Apart from her media personality Martha works for Australian Government Department of Human services after she won the position as one of the first successful Indigenous Australian and East African Recruitment program. She is one of the Multicultural Service Officers for Zone Northern Victoria. Her role with the department gave her an opportunity to work with different communities and main stakeholder.

Academically Martha had achieved BA Degree In International Community Development from Victoria University, Diploma in Ethiopian Language and literature from Addis Ababa University, and Diploma in Interpreting from RMIT University.

She is one of the active members of Ethiopian Community Association in Victoria also Public relation for Ethiopian Women Association in Victoria.


Nibret Kassa was born in Ethiopia. He has been working in The Ethiopian Ministry of Health in various positions. He had the opportunity to receive training from World Health Organisation (WHO) in Entomology and Operations Management and has worked as a group leader in Malaria Eradication Program with Field Research Teams. He has rendered many hours of training on Malaria prevention methods and has translated many documents from English to Amharic for training and development purposes.

He has studied Diploma of Education and Literature, and was awarded 2nd prize for the tenth anniversary of Literacy Campaign Short Story competition on a national level in 1989. Following his farsightedness of how the new government then (EPRDF) was heading to, and he rejected many offers for the sake of his dignity as well as for the future status of his children and decided to flee to Djibouti. During his stay in Djibouti, he became a teacher and taught many Francophone’s how to speak, read, and write Amharic. Nibret migrated to Australia in 1996 through the UNHCR resettlement program as a refugee, and shortly after joined by his family.

In Australia, Nibret has worked for Warner Brothers, and Fairfax Printers; with The Sydney Morning Herald in Sydney and The Age in Melbourne. He understood the limitations of information in his community and started publishing an Amharic news paper as a supplement source of information to the Ethiopian community in Australia. Besides, Nibret is well aware of the minor differences among the Ethiopian Ethnic groups in Melbourne, and launched “Agere Radio” in June 2011. He is the producer and director of the program, and his radio shows are transmitted twice a week on Tuesdays from 6:00am to 8:00am on 97.9FM, and on Sundays from 9:00am to 12:00pm on 97.4FM. He has been on air for more than five hundred hours since then. He works tirelessly at his own expenses to bring the politically divided Ethiopian community together. His shows cover: current affairs, different views and opinions, history, interviews, social affairs, health, and entertainment.

In addition, he has published a bilingual newspaper monthly, to fill the gap of information and to create a communicating medium for adults, youth and new generations to enlighten them about their cultural heritage and history. He distributes his news papers all over Australia and helped small business to advertise on his paper at a low cost. He also helps local organisations such as Regional Rail Link Victoria by advertising on his paper regarding the Major reforms around the Footscray station.  Nibret is also unreserved writer sharing his ideas and timely observations. Even though he uses a pseudonym his numerous articles have been read globally with encouraging feedbacks. If it hadn’t been for the limited resources; he has a great desire to serve the community at a larger scale.

Furthermore, he has studied Diploma of Interpreting from RMIT University and gives professional document translation services, especially for immigration purposes. He has also served as an active participant in the Taxi Industry Advisory Board for two years, which is conducted by VTD and received a certificate for his constructive contribution.

Nibret is a very dedicated father of five children and two grand children and an extraordinary Ethiopian Australian.


Arsène J. BOUNDA is an African-Australian born in Brazzaville (Congo) in 1971. Upon been relocated in Australia by the UN refugees’ agency (UNHCR) back in 2004, he undertook various casual positions –encompassing seasonal fruit picking in rural Victoria and catering and cleaning during the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Arsène is passionate about criminal law related-matters and he successfully completed the first year of the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) at the University of Lyon II in Lyon (France) prior to joining the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UN ICTR) as a Legal Intern. He started his internship at the Registry of the Tribunal and was subsequently promoted to the Trial Chambers where he worked alongside UN Judges and lawyers from various cultural, academic and professional backgrounds. He was the only member assisting the UN Judges who had not previously graduated in Law. However, he was dedicated to the mission of the UN ICTR, would often work beyond the set hours of the Tribunal and stood out for his research and editorial skills. As a result, his internship which was initially due to last 6 months was extended twice at the request of the judges who greatly appreciated his assistance. Arsène’s contribution to the legacy of the Tribunal includes his involvement in the secretive investigation regarding the financial situation of persons accused of war crimes and genocide in order to ascertain their eligibility to the UN Legal aid program, as well as his participation in the editing and translation from English into French of an official UN publication entitled the ‘Practical Guide for Defence Counsel’.

In 2009, Arsène facilitated the visit in Australia of the late Hon. Professor Wangari Maathai the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate with whom he travelled from Melbourne to Canberra to meet senior government officials. He also humbly contributed to Australia’s successful candidacy on a seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2013-14 term by providing strategic advice to the then Foreign Affairs Minister of Australia and current Prime Minster, the Hon. Kevin Rudd MP.

Arsène occasionally liaises with the Australian Government in order to make valued suggestions aimed at fostering Australia’s legacy onto the UNSC. He holds several postgraduate qualifications in Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism from Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia), in Information Security and Intelligence from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia) and in Criminal Intelligence from the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security at Charles Sturt University (Sydney, Australia) where he is completing a second Master’s degree (Master of Arts in Intelligence Analysis).

He recently passed the Victoria Police Education Entrance Examination and he is looking forward to joining the police force.


Nkandu Beltz is an author, philanthropist, social change maker and lover of humanity who has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 10 years.

Born in Zambia, she has lived in four countries and now calls Australia home.

Nkandu is devoted to making a lasting impact and helping people. She was an Australian Youth Representative to the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting in 2011 and an Executive Member for the United Nations Association of Australia-WA 2011. She was chosen as a Young Social Pioneer By Foundation for Young Australians in 2012, a Creative Innovation Scholarship winner in 2013. She was also awarded a Pinnacle Professional of the year award in 2013 by Continental Who’s Who for her dedication and recognition of her excellence in her professional work  .

Nkandu is the Founder and Director of Youth Empowerment Programme Australia and Author of her new upcoming book I Have the Power-Unlock Your Potential to Change the World.


Sarah Hailu is Ethiopian born African Australian registered nurse graduated from Victoria University in Bachelor of Nursing. Prior to joining Victoria University Sarah studied at Swinburne University and graduated in Certificate IV in Nursing. Sarah is among many African Australian professionals who contributed to the Australian community in health service industry.


She is currently works at an aged care facility in South Melbourne as a Care Manager  overlooking the clinical care provided to the residents.She also worked as a facility manager at reservoir retreat aged care Melbourne Victoria.

Sarah has extensive experience accumulated over the years working in different location as nurse filling the gap of skill shortage. She has been held various position as Registered nurse with Brunswick Manor Aged care; also she worked with Royal Melbourne health Bank as enrolled nurse. Further, she held a position of enrolled nurse with St. Kilda Super clinic and Carrington Aged Care. According to Sarah integrating to the Australian Community professionally is a rewarding and challenging. Above all she enjoys working in the profession and supporting the community where the need arises.


Oliver Zvinaiye Maboreke is originally from Zimbabwe and works as Community Engagement Worker at the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health - Multicultural Health and Support Service team.

He originally worked as Senior Community Development & Project Officer with the Springvale Community Aid and Advice Bureau, the Department of Human Services as well as teaching in various schools around Melbourne.

He holds a Masters degree in International Project Planning and Development –RMIT University and among other qualifications.

He is also actively involved with the African – Australian community as African Think Tank board member, Australian Aids Organisations (AFAO) Victoria Advisory Committee, Zimbabwean community leader.

In addition, Oliver is also Forward in Faith Ministries International Events Coordinator, founder member and Director of Soccer coaching for the Zimbabwean soccer team in Victoria, ZimVic Sports Club. 

Areas of expertise include Community capacity building, leadership training & Development, HIV/Gender mainstreaming, Human rights Advocacy & Lobbying, Youth empowerment, Event management, Music and Sport.


With philanthropic career ambitions, R’n’B pop artist Soli has big-hearted aspirations to one day share her good fortune with underprivileged children in her home country of Ethiopia.

Most happy when she is performing, Soli currently sings at churches, weddings and family functions and has a musical style in the vein of Jessie J and Emeli Sande. Her fan base continues to steadily climb across social media for her moving vocal performances including her blind audition song on The Voice - 'Halo' by Beyoncé



Lamine Sonko was born in Senegal West Africa into a family of griots known as culture keepers. Griots are the custodians of ancient lineages, functioning as the eyes and ears of the community. The Griot's responsibility is to practice and teach the stories of their culture through the embodied oral traditions of song, music and dance. An oral culture is one alive only in practice, and so it is the Griot that must animate the spirit of the past into the present and towards the future through remembering, sharing, performing and teaching of songs, drum and dance.

 Lamine learnt his craft while growing up in an artistic family. Most notably, his parents maintain the strongest influence on his talent. His father, Bouly Sonko, is presently the Director for the Senegalese national drum and dance company Waaro Siita. His mother, Oumy Sene, was the first solo dancer for Le Ballet National Du Senegal and is also currently a member of Waato Siita. Lamine's family are well known musically and highly respected internationally.

 Now living in Melbourne, Australia - and a part of the West African Diaspora, the position of traditional griot expands to embrace a new cultural position, whereby music becomes a platform for bringing diverse cultures and practices together into space for the communion of multiple knowledges - traditional and contemporary.

Lamine's practice is motivated by a desire to experiment in this space between the traditional and the contemporary in ways that develop new forms of musical collaboration and exchange. This is underpinned by a larger aim to develop communities of musicians from the African, Australian, American and European continents, working to build a space in which a spirit of togetherness for a better future can be experienced through the unyielding force of music and dance.

Watch Youtube Videos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


Dr Francis Karanja

Originally from Kenya, Dr Francis Karanja holds an MPhil in Environmental Sciences from Moi University (Kenya) and Masters and PhD degrees in Resource Economics from the University of New England (Australia). Dr Karanja’s career spans over 15 years, working for government, international not for profit organisations, private sector and academia. Dr Karanja currently works as a Principal Economist for the State Government of Victoria. He is responsible for providing economic policy analysis and advice to senior executive staff on a wide range of policy issues.  


Dr Karanja has lectured senior undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of New England. Prior to this position, Dr Karanja worked as consultant with the Engineering and Environmental Consulting firm URS in Western Australia providing high quality economic and strategic analysis of investment in natural resource use and environmental management to diverse clients. Dr Karanja’s strong experience in designing, implementing and managing international integrated conservation and development projects was solidified when working for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)) implementing projects in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.


Dr Karanja has been involved with a wide range of community-based and charitable organisations. He is a founder member of the Rotary International and Hope Trust Fund Kenya. In 2013, he served as the Secretary of Melbourne-based Men Forum Inc., a not-for-profit organization whose main aim is to bring men together to share their experiences and knowledge with a view to applying the same in quest to become better men, better husbands, better fathers and better community members. In 2012, he volunteered as an executive in the East and Central Africa Communities in Victoria (EACACOV) board. EACACOW (now African Communities Foundation Australia (ACFA)) is a state-wide emerging and inclusive organisation that brings together African-Australians in Victoria who trace their genealogy from African countries and those who feel connected to Africa. Its main objective is to address issues that impact on their settlement in Australia. Dr Karanja is also a founder and Board member of the Kenya Australia Chambers of Commerce (KACC).



Fikre Retta is a Quailed Teacher (Graduated from Teachers Training College) and a Governor in Ethiopia. He Studied in Germany and was awarded Student of the Year. He worked with the International Red Cross helping vulnerable youth and Supervisor for the World Council of Churches in the Sudan Republic. Fikre graduated MA in International Relations and one of the founder and a leader of "The Tigran Community in Western Australia. He is a founder of the Tigran Community in Victoria 20 years ago He is continually working within the Tigran Community bringing peace to the community as a whole.

He helps those less fortunate by helping with financial needs by helping with money and other items and he is always with them. He helps new arrivals in Australia by teaching them Australian values and the Australian laws, and has worked for over 24 years in helping with this free service to those who need it. He assisted with accommodation for new arrivals until they are able to receive assistance from the Government. He helps everyone who is new to Australia, as well as helping anyone who needs any help or assistance. He is also the best and most experienced person to help resolve conflicts with the Community in general. The Community awarded him a prize for his efforts and he is the first person to be given such an award for Community Services within the Community.

He also received an award from the Wyndham City Council for the best story contained with the book “From There to Here” authored by Margaret Campbell, presented by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He is also the subject of another book written by Girmay Abriha, entitled “The Crying Feet”, and also another by the same author “Those who believe the government and those who don’t believe the government are punished the same”. He studied and learnt to play Arabic Chess, and he also learnt to play the Kirar (an Ethiopian instrument) from friends who were also in prison, who were well known

Tigran singers, Kiros Alemayou and Kashahun Woldegiorges, and those who know, the kirar is a difficult instrument to master. He taught many Rayan songs to Kiros, and both Fikre and Kiros changed some of the more traditional Rayan music to more a more modern sound.

He has also sent more than 4,800 books to Ethiopia, especially to the Tilahun Yegzaw School in Maichew, many have been bought and paid for out of his own pocket, and some others have been donated from different high schools and universities mainly from Victoria, which were then sent from Melbourne to Maichew via Djibouti and Addis Ababa, and again paying for all transportation costs. Total estimated cost of books with transportation is well over $150,000.00. He also donated 150 school uniforms to those unable to afford them.



Thando Sikwila appeared on The Voice Season 3; mentored by pop royalty Kylie Minogue and world renowned International superstar Ricky Martin. In addition Thando also performed in front of Joel Madden and will.i.am. We are proud to announce that Thando will be performing live at “The Face of Africa Australia 2014 as part of the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival” The Zimbabwe born songstress is Melbourne’s up and coming R&B songstress. Thando fronts a self titled 7 piece R&B and has been playing around Melbourne and this year is steadily making her presence known in the African Australian Arts community.

Watch videos 1 | 2




Ethiopia has long been a land of exceptional musicianship and innovative hybrid styles, infusing influences from all four corners of the globe. Nine-piece Ethio-Jazz ensemble, The JAzmaris pay tribute to this music, unique in its sound, skill and scale structure, through combining a mix of original compositions with those of the great Ethiopian composers who have come before them

The group was established by pianist Daniel Atlaw Seifu, a professionally trained Ethiopian jazz, traditional and contemporary musician who graduated from the Yared School of Music in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Before arriving in Australia in 2007, Daniel was a resident musician, composer, arranger and teacher at the Ethiopian National Theatre.

Jazmaris are fronted by energetic dancer & singer Seble Girma, representing the varying regional costumes & dances of Ethiopia. She is backed by a horn & rhythm section made up a mix of Australian and Ethiopian musicians based in Melbourne.

Jazmaris where honoured with the offer to support & back the legendary Mahmoud Ahmed on his Australian tour in January 2013, performing at the Arts Centre Melbourne and the MONA FOMA festival in Hobart.

" JAzmaris came down and proved a point dramatically. When artists put out that energy it gets the crowd to trust in the program even if they don't know the artist or style. JAzmaris drew a spontaneous standing ovation from a crowd several thousand strong at MONA FOMA with their slinky and profound grooves."
- Brian Ritchie, MONA FOMA curator

"What a brilliant concert. Such a legend, what a voice and JAzmaris were in it up to their eyeballs. Melbourne has a world class band. After each song when the audience was swept up in the energy and emotion, I couldn't see how the next song wouldn't be an anti-climax. How do you maintain that momentum? They did. A90 minute thrill ride. Extraordinary experience!"

Click here to watch video

Listen to Jazmaris music on sound cloud


Desmond Dhad Tucker

Extremely versatile, Desmond wears multiple hats going from teaching music technology to fixing cars as a mechanic, house builder and decorator, landscape designer, clothes tailor, song writer, soccer coach and many more. He has produced 5 short films, 10 music videos, 3 albums and employed 20 young adults for his building and decoration business, Rasta Style, and his music production business, Dhad Production. Desmond is passionate, inspired by his children and grabs new opportunities. “I am always sincere in what I do”, he says.

Desmond has plans to return to Sierra Leone with the aim to enhance development and raise awareness on Sierra Leonean arts and culture. “I am teaming up with a Sierra Leonean brother to recover and preserve Sierra Leonean culture and form an orchestra of Indigenous Sierra Leonean instruments”. With the spread of social media, Sierra Leoneans have become more open and informed. “We have a very good ingredient for development: people. Sierra Leoneans are willing, hardworking, respectful, happy and humble people”.

Click here to read more....

Watch videos 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


A Kenyan by birth, currently the Community Planning and Engagement Officer at Brimbank City Council a role held for the last over two years.
Wambui has held multiple local and international roles within the community sector, e.g. in Somalia, Indonesia and Kenya.

Wambui has contributed to organising and managing various social and development programs through planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating, with the aim to address immediate and long term community’s needs, create awareness, strengthen community initiatives and influence policy formulation. In Australia, Wambui has worked with refugees, migrants, Brimbank residents and the Aboriginal community in Brimbank Council.

Wambui has made it this far through setting clear career objectives, being focussed, positive, having good influencers/role models and hard work which she believes that every migrant can achieve while in Australia.




Herbie Rosenberg moved to Australia from South Africa five years ago, is based in Melbourne and represents a prestigious selection of African products through his representation company, Africareps.


The companies he markets and represents are:


  • Great Plains Conservation
  • Londolozi Game Reserve
  • The Legacy Hotels Group
  • The Blue Train
  • Wilderness Safaris
  • African Sun Hotels
  • Tintswalo Lodges
  • Royal Zambezi Lodge


The above companies cumulatively span 12 African countries namely Botswana, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Herbie has had over 30 years’ experience in the African travel industry, first as marketing director of Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park region of South Africa, thereafter as a director of Africapass, a South African inbound tour operation and now as Managing Director of Africareps.


He has travelled extensively around the world, but more importantly has personally visited many of the countries mentioned above as well as visited the majority of the over 100 game reserves, lodges, camps and hotels in his portfolio.


Africareps is not in competition with its clients, being the Travel Agencies and African Wholesalers; rather we work in a support role, respecting all existing channels.



Yonas Mihtsuntu ( Clinician, trainer and researcher)


Is an Australian of Eritrean origin.


After achieving a Bachelors and Masters degrees, for the last 10 years, Yonas has worked as an academic within a university; researcher with international NGOs, and managing capacity in different mental health programs with a leading Victorian Psychiatric rehabilitation service. During and after his graduate studies Yonas has been involved with multiple agencies, holding different positions such as resettlement support, social educator, community engagement, an advocate, trainer, mental health program worker and Family services coordinator and has travelled with the resettlement journeys of so many new migrants, across all age groups, and made them feel welcome to the new culture. Yonas is member of numerous leadership and service alliances, research, advocacy and training bodies including Leadership management Australia and Victorian Transcultural Mental Health, and numerous community agencies.


Yonas provides clinical mental health support to people who suffer from wide range of mental health conditions. He holds different cultural and managerial portfolios and plays a pivotal role in creating a culturally sensitive workplace and making the community mental health environment more welcoming to people from other cultures that do not have favourable views towards mental health services. He also provides cultural consultations to internal and external clinicians and community mental health workforce. He also provides cross cultural training on cultural competency, stigma reduction, and other community education focusing around raising community awareness about mental illness and reducing stigma among people from non-English speaking backgrounds.  


Yonas has attended numerous national and international mental health conferences and presented papers such as access barriers to mental health services; mental health workface cultural competency; resettlement challenges in rural and regional areas, microfinance, suicide in migrant communities, and Attitude to HIV/AIDS. Yonas recently published an article titled “Reaching ‘hidden’ carers through an integrated and collaborative service delivery model” in both the Australian Journal on Psychosocial Rehabilitation and the TheMS2012 conference book of proceedings, which highlights the support that he managed to provide to many families that were not reached by other mental health services before and his model has been taken up as good practice approach by many services.


Yonas has deep passion to support people from none English speaking backgrounds particularly those from African backgrounds who find it difficult to resettle in a new country and confronted with mental health problems. His dedication and exceptional support to disadvantaged communities especially those from African background appreciated by many of his clients. He continues to provide ongoing professional support to several support groups from African backgrounds and continues to create avenues for them to share opportunities, common issue of concern and connect with other community members of same background and the broader community.


Yonas is a known advocate for disadvantaged communities, including the African Australians, within the mainstream mental health service where he works and other similar agencies.


Besides, Yonas is heavily involved in supporting multicultural Victorians through community linkages. His ability to link with community leaders who can influence the broader community is well noted. He is well known by religious leaders, academics and service providers who endeavour to provide appropriate mental health service to people from African backgrounds.

Yonas is founder of Yonex MindCare (YMC) a unique and rapidly growing mental health private practice which delivers wide ranging focused psychological rehabilitation services for people to experience positive mental health and many of the beneficiaries of this service are people from African backgrounds.


Director Imat Akelo-Opio, has a degree in Biomedical Science/Science, and a Masters in Clinical Data Management. Imat is originally from Uganda and has always had a passion for medicine and health. Imat founded Otino-International in order to reach out and give life to the innocents (previously displaced women and children) of all nationalities, creeds and background.“Otino-International is an amazing adventure that is still continuing to evolve as one the most fulfilling journeys of life. Every woman and child deserves the right to life. Otino-International is based on the foundation of the right to life, both naturally through medicine and spiritually through the gospel. Otino International presents Africa Arise fashion show launching Africa Fashion Week Melbourne Australia. Founded by Imat Akelo-Opio former Miss Uganda USA. Imat’s involvement in the world of fashion has encouraged this organisation to come to life and provide a platform for African and African inspired designers both in Australia and Internationally to showcase their unique collections in Australia's fashion capital Melbourne.


Nadih idirs is part South African. She was born in Melbourne, but moved to Malaysia at the age of six, where she grew up learning traditional Malay dance and Balinese folk dancing.

After high school, she started freestyling and developing her own style, inspired by '80s pop idols such as Michael Jackson and Madonna. Click here to watch video

Realising that she'd need some formal training if she wanted to dance in her favourite Broadway shows like Fame and Cats, Idris went to a dance school in Malaysia before heading to Brisbane to do a science degree, ''as a backup plan''.

She hasn't had to rely on it so far - after attending Brisbane's Raw Dance Company in 2010 upon completing her degree, ''I haven't looked back,'' says Idris, who has since performed as a backup dancer for Kanye West at Splendour in the Grass in 2011.

The Blaze show - which includes pop and locking, break-dancing, dancehall and commercial hip-hop moves and features the music of Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake and David Guetta - runs until Sunday at Hamer Hall. The Arts Centre is hosting a series of related events between performances, including hip-hop workshops and T-shirt stencilling.

Idris had auditioned last October to join the troupe of 15 dancers - hailing from the US, Holland, Luxembourg, Denmark, France, and Portugal - during their Australian tour, but didn't make the final cut.

Demi Sorono, best known for appearing in the 2008 season of So You Think You Can Dance, was chosen as the female dancer to perform with Blaze in Sydney and Melbourne. But when Sorono injured herself last week, Idris got the call-up.

''I had to learn a show in 14 hours,'' she says. ''I got there on the Wednesday morning, rehearsed all day Wednesday and Thursday, and then had to perform in the show on Thursday night. I felt like my head was going to explode.''

Read more: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


Rebecca March is a lawyer, development worker and aspiring academic. She has been working, living and sharing with African communities in Australia and overseas for most of her adult life, in efforts to advance global recognition of Africa, its peoples and place in this world.

Rebecca is completing a PhD exploring the impact of colonization and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade on the experiences of Africa and its diaspora, throughout history and in Australia today. She has travelled to Ghana and Brazil for research and currently teaches Global Migration Stories and Globalization and Development at La Trobe University. Rebecca is a member of the African Studies Association of the Australia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) and will present her research at AFSAAP’s 37th International Conference ‘Africa: Diversity and Development’ at Otago University, New Zealand.

For seven years, Rebecca has supported African youth and their families as a Team Leader and Board Member of the Fitzroy Adventure Playground (Cubbies). Engaging Fitzroy’s South Sudanese, Horn of Africa and Liberian communities, Cubbies provides a supervised ‘back yard’ space for young people living in the high-rise estate. A practitioner of the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira, Rebecca founded the Cubbies Youth Capoeira Project (CYCP) after travelling to Uganda to teach in 2009. CYCP provides free capoeira classes, excursions and performances for Cubbies youth, including at Multicultural Arts Victoria’s (MAV’s) Black Harmony Gathering and MAV’s Emerge and VIVA Victoria Festivals.

This year Rebecca was Coordinator of MAV’s Emerge in the West Festival, Victoria’s biggest African-Australian cultural festival based on harmony and inclusion. With six stages, over fifty of Australia’s finest African artists and small business, ambassador and volunteer programs, the festival was the outcome of long-term collaboration and planning between MAV and Footscray’s local African communities.

For Rebecca, this included serving on the Mandela Committee with Melbourne’s African community leaders, to arrange Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. Rebecca also worked with African Humanitarian Aid for Refugees (AHAR) and Dimbaya African Arts and Cultural Movement, to raise funds for South Sudan, and supported Africa Day Celebrations, Africa’s Got Talent, the Afro-Australian Student Organisation (AASO) and Sudanese Australian Youth Action Group (SAYAG). Rebecca also led MAV’s Youth Steering Committee, engaging and supporting young African-Australians throughout the festival’s development.

Rebecca has further supported African youth through roles with the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), Youthlaw and other community legal centres (CLCs). Rebecca has provided settlement and teaching support for newly-arrived African migrants, working with Fitzroy Learning Network (FLN) and locally with Oxfam and the Red Cross.

Rebecca has travelled extensively throughout Africa, including the Horn of Africa and East and West Africa, assisting individuals and communities through teaching, sponsorship (www.amatsiko.org), family reunification and migration legal assistance.


Creative Director and Chairman of Creative Rebellion Youth Enterprises. Abe Nouk Is an author, spoken word & performance artist. Went from knowing no English three years ago to performing at the Glastonbury Festival and featured on the Ubud Writers Festival in 2014.

A spoken word poet, hip hop fanatic, MC and an author whose craft developed from just the realisation of the freedom of speech. …

Motivated by the empowerment of words, Sudanese-born now an Australian citizen (ironic), nine years ago Abraham was illiterate when he and his family arrived in Australia under the high commission refugee status, and now has turned adversity into advantage with his first poetry collection “HUMBLE’’

Poetry Slam 2013 Victorian Winner | more...

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Marik Dershaye

Marik is currently studying Bachelor of Environmental Science/Bachelor of Engineering Honours at RMIT University. Marik and her friend Germawit are very motivated young African Australian's that are very proud of their heritage and (Ethiopian) background. Marik and Germawit wanted to allow people to learn more about their culture and background but realised that once deciding to join a cultural group in RMIT that there was a lot of different cultural groups, but no African cultural group in RMIT, therefore Marik and her friend Germawit started an African group committee in RMIT which is now called (RASA-RMIT African students association) With this group they aim to do the following: The aims of RASA are:  "To provide peer to peer support to RMIT students of African heritage through shared information, ideas and creativity" , "To support members academic, professional and social wellbeing through referral, skill sharing, and professional, personal development and social activities" , "To share and celebrate the diversity and richness of African culture with and to the RMIT and general communities" , "To develop alliances and networks among the RMIT and wider academic communities to support RASA's efforts" "In 2014, RASA hopes to run social and cultural activities such as BBQs, live music, poetry, a ball, cultural days, poetry nights, yoga, camps, ice skating, group visits to tourist attractions and rock climbing." Refer to website


Eric Kwasi Agyeman

Chief Educator | Founder | www.pvbs.co
Author | Youth Speaker |

Born in Ghana, raised in New Zealand and now living in Melbourne, Eric's life story has undeniably been one of 'Change'

After 4 suspensions in high school, Eric's Dad sent him to Ghana for a 3 week ‘holiday’, 3 weeks become 7 years!
7 years that would forever change his life. From being a troubled teenager who was involved with drugs and gangs to becoming a man fuelled by vision and a dream to make an impact in the lives of those around him!

'Living in Ghana, I was exposed to poverty first hand, poverty I had forgotten I experienced as a child.I instantly realized how blessed I was. I went on a trip to the city during one of my days in Ghana, where I bypassed a row of children sitting on the road side selling everything and anything from water to mobile phone chargers. In that moment, I thought to myself, how can the cycle of poverty be broken if kids that are meant to be in school are on the streets selling whatever they can?'' - Eric

After arriving back In Melbourne in 2007 Eric gathered a team of young people and launched a social enterprise where they donate profits from their clothing line PVBS (short for the book of Proverbs) to charities making a difference. In 2013 the company launched another sub brand providing custom school leaver jackets to high school Year 12's. $15 from every jacket is then used to kick start a child's education in Cambodia and Ghana. 
Within it's first year the initiative 'When You Finish, They Start' has donated over $20,000 and has impacted over 1,300 kids in Cambodia and also funded the construction of 2 new class rooms in Ghana. 

Eric is also an author and a sought after motivational speaker, his messages and presentations have empowered thousands to dream big, believe in themselves and to make a difference!

'My ultimate dream is to help others achieve their dreams!” 
You'll often hear him say 'Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon'



Aden is an Australia citizen. She is originally from Ethiopia. She came to Australia in 2003.

 In Ethiopia, the parents of Aden had a shop. In that shop there was a tailor who used sewing machine. She was impressed of the job that he did. When he stopped sewing in order to give his prayers, she used his sewing machine and did sewing. It was at time that she started to design her own dress and dress of her younger sister Ethiopian traditional dress on her free time (after school and on weekends).

After she came to Australia and finished her language school, she started her mainstream education at year 10.  When she was at secondary level her dream as to be a fashion designer and been working as TVC and model for hair make up. While she was as TVC model she observed that fashion designing was very important and decided to a fashion designer.

To be a fashion designer was challenging because on one side wanted to fulfil her dream and role model in her community as a designer and on the other side to help her family.

At Melbourne School of Fashion she was examined to enter to do fashion designed and was accepted to do the course and got diploma in fashion design. At present she is doing her course in Advanced Diploma in fashion designing and will go up to bachelor degree.

She is active member of her community Aden encourages and inspires young people in her community. Her community members are from non English background and she organised fashion show to her community members in 2011, 2012 and 2013 consecutively. It was very successful and community members supported her. That made her to the position that she is at the moment.

Aden started to produce Ethiopian embroidery from traditional changed to modern style in a way that can be used by every fashion follower.  She has her own label for making her production.

She is a role model in her community not only as a fashion designer but as a good example of becoming a person who can make her/his dream true.  There is nothing that cannot be done if you put effort without giving up.

She want to address to the Australian Community that African Australian especially women who were born in Africa have a lot of good new things that they can bring to this country. She knows that it is challenging but they need support and encouraged and seek role model.

Aden styles famous Ethiopian singers who come to perform in Australia from throughout the world and Aden is well known as young African Australian fashion designer.

Aden has her own designing label and shop called 8den. She can be contacted by her email address 8den@mail.com.

Aden is a dedicated mother and inspiring fashion designer.


Getahun Solomon

Getahun Solomon is one of the most celebrated Ethiopian Artists. He began performing at an early age, wowing audiences at his local churches, schools and community centers. After years of small parts in theatre and films, Getahun began to land big roles and win critical and popular acclaim in Ethiopia. He is now one of Ethiopia’s most respected actors, directors, producers and narrators. He is also one of the founders of Tesfa Entrainment Center. Getahun studied acting at Addis Ababa Cultural Centre as well as at Gedlu Aseged Arts Institution. He performed in more than 16 stage plays, 15 popular movies, 5 TV shows and also has appeared on numerous radio-dramas and advertisements. Getahun is the lead character as well as one of the producers of the new feature films shot here in Melbourne entitled ‘MeKyas’, [A Zanta Film Productions film] that is scheduled to be premiered early next year. Getahun, who resides in Australia, recently traveled to Ethiopia for a lead acting role on a feature film ‘Ye Troy Feres’, as well as a part in one of the latest Sebastopol Productions ‘Triangle’. Getahun has also performed on a top-rated Ethiopian drama series ‘Sew le Sew’ a show that includes such current and future stars as Solomon Bogale, Mulalem Taddesse, Abebe Balcha and Samson Tadesse. As a volunteer, Getahun uses his artistic skills, interests and experiences in film and theatre to empower, encourage and assist his Ethiopian Australian Community.

Ethiopian feature film ye Troy feres. Starring Getahun Solomon.

Ethiopian feature film Fiker Siferd, Starring Getahun Solomon. 

Also, here’s a glimpse of my acting role on Sew Le Sew TV drama series (Episodes 1 to 18). You may forward the video clip to 1:26 min. to watch one of my parts.


Ajak Kwai

Click here to watch Ajak's video

Listen to Ajak's music on iTune. Click on 1 | 2

Ajak Kwai is the rare voice of an African woman in Australia. Ajak has a haunting melodic voice which is distinctly African and to listen to her is to experience this dark continent in all its colours, rythmns and mystery.

Whether Ajak is singing in Arabic, Sudanese or English she leaves you in no doubt as to the depth and richness of her Dinka roots. Music is the vehicle for her stories of extraordinary life experiences as a refugee, exiled from her home town.

Ajak and her songs take us on a journey deeply feminine, unique from the Upper Nile to gospel singing in Cairo to Melbourne where she has successfully fused her African roots with the grassroots of Australian music. She sings about freedom, peace, love and ... cows.

Her distinctive voice and vibrant afro soul style songs have seen her in demand with many festivals including Byron Bay, Apollo Bay, National Folk Festival, Port Fairy, Melbourne International Festival. This has developed her as a performer with a style that has great appeal visually and musically that you can't help feeling you are in Africa.

Her move to Melbourne in 2007 ignited a new phase in Ajak's songwriting seeing her write and perform with many well know Australian musicians including percussionist Nicky Bomba, multi-instrumentalist Martin Tucker and fretman Chris Basile. Ajak released an album in 2008 which reflected her new funky raw Aussie/Sudanese sound.


Mark ZERAFA is a Youth Resource Officer working in the Melton and Brimbank Municipalities.  He has been working as a Police Officer for the past 25 years.

In his Current Role as a Youth Resource Officer Mark offers assistance to young people and their families in a range of services provided within their municipalities. Some of the services Mark can refer to are as follows:- Education, English Language Course, Employment, Legal Rights, Transport, Youth Allowances, Study Allowances, Pension etc.

Mark is also involved in many programs and Reference Groups for New and Emerging Communities.

Some of the Program and Reference Groups he has been affiliated with are as follows –

  • Youth Justice Familiarisation Training Program for New and Emerging Communities (VICSEG)
  • Celebrating Cultural Diversity Week at Werribee Zoo (City West Water)
  • Driver Education Program (Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre)
  • South Sudanese Students’ Engagement Program (VICSEG)
  • Sunshine Magistrates and Young African Australians Reference Group
  • Youth at Risk Program. (IEMPOWER)
  • Melton New and Emerging Communities Network
  • Pathway to the Future program (Sunshine Children’s Court)
  • SupportLink Referrals (Victoria  Police)
  • African Swimming Lesson Program Melton (Melton Waves)
  • African Family Day at the Aquarium (CatholicCare)
  • Driver Education (AMES)

Mark is the recipient of the 2007 Victorian Wilberforce Award and the ‘Above and Beyond Award’ in 2008 presented by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard.


More profiles to be added


Elleni Bereded-Samuel has focused her life's work on strengthening education, training and employment for Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in Australia. Currently, Elleni is the Community Engagement Advisor & Coordinator at Victoria University. Her dynamic leadership has resulted in new solutions for community to access and participate in society.

For six years she served on the Board of Directors of The Women's Hospital and  chair of the Community Advisory Committee.  Elleni served for three years as the inaugural member of the Australian Social Inclusion Board. She is a Director of the SBS Board .

From 2005-2011 Elleni served as the first African Commissioner appointed to the Victorian Multicultural Commission. Recently, Elleni was appointed to the Western Health Board of Directors and is also appointed to chair the Western Health Cultural Diversity and Community Advisory Committee and member of Education Research and Development Committee.

Elleni was one of the recipients of the VU Vice-Chancellor's Citations and Awards for Outstanding Engagement with CALD communities in Australia.  She has also received the Victoria's Premier Award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs - Education, and the Prime Minister International Year of Volunteers Award.

Her name has been included on the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. In 2006 Ellen's biography and achievements was included in the "Who is Who Australian Women", inaugural edition alongside 4000 remarkable women across a range of fields, all of whom have excelled in their endeavours and have helped shape the face of Australia.

In 2008 Elleni was selected as one of twelve significant women in Victoria as part of 100 years of women's suffrage reflection and celebration and also participated at the 20-20 Summit. In 2008 Elleni won the Diversity@Work Individual Champion Award for Diversity and Inclusion.  Elleni was presented with her award by Sir Bob Geldof.

In 2012,  the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard,  congratulated  and recognized Elleni as one of the 40 Australians champions independently selected as the new People of Australia Ambassadors following hundreds of nominations from the public. The new ambassadors, including Elleni, will be able to provide advice to government and the Australian Multicultural Council if they wish.



Dr. Khaled El-Sheikh has been named as an Executive of the Year by Stanford Who's Who as a result of his phenomenal professional career. In his position as Founder and CEO of the Tristar Medical Group, Dr. El-Sheikh has routinely performed at an extraordinary level while displaying the leadership and professionalism required to be considered among the elite.

Tristar Medical Group, owned by Khaled, was the Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award winner in 2011 and provides quality, affordable, and accessible health care to under-doctored communities. Since commencing business from a solo general practice in Warracknabeal, TMG now has 29 clinics throughout regional and rural Australia with a staff of 90 GPs, 20 full-time practice nurses and 140 support staff. They are active in the communities they operate in and provide financial and in-kind support of many local organizations. Each clinic bulk bill and is open seven days a week with an after-hours consultation service.


Prof. Fethi Mansouri

Chair in Migration and Intercultural Research;
Director, Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation (a Deakin University Strategic Research Centre)

Professor Fethi Mansouri is a leading researcher in the Deakin University Australia and a prominent scholar nationally and internationally. He is the principal supervisor of many PhD A candidates in Middle Eastern studies, migration research and intercultural studies.

Professor Mansouri has published twelve books, nine major research monographs, more than fifty refereed research articles and book chapters, and many book reviews and media pieces. He has presented more than 100 invited conference and seminar papers and many other invited presentations at national and international symposia.

Over the last ten years, Professor Mansouri has been awarded more than 30 research grants from a number of funding bodies including the Australian Research Council in 2009-12 on 'Social Networks, Belonging and Active Citizenship among Migrant Youth in Australia'; 2007-10 on 'Local governance and multicultural policies'; 2004-07 on 'Cultural diversity in education'; and in 2002-04 for a project on 'Australia's Asylum Policies'. Professor Mansouri received funding from the state government and a number of philanthropic foundations to conduct research into cultural diversity in education and within local governance.

Professor Mansouri is the author of many influential books.

Professor Mansouri is the Director of the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation. The CCG is at the forefront of empirical, normative and applied research in studies of citizenship and globalisation. It conducts inter-disciplinary research into how individuals and political groups interact with, and claim membership of, social, economic, political and cultural organisations within and beyond the nation.

  • 2010: Faculty Research Excellence Award– 2010 Distinguished Researcher
  • 2010: University Service Recognition Award
  • 2010: University Recognition Award for contribution as a mentor to the ‘Developing Research Leaders Program’
  • 2010: Faculty Researcher of the Month Award (August 2010)
  • 2006: Deakin International Studies Program (ISP) Award
  • 2005: Certificate of Appreciation: Police Academy, Victoria.
  • 2004: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity (HREOC) Medal Awards: Lives in Limbo (UNSW Press, 2004, with Michael Leach) short-listed for the Non-Fiction Awards.
  • 2003: Multiple Grants Winner Award, Faculty of arts
  • 2002: Certificate of Recognition for the Dean's Best Researcher
  • 2001: Certificate of Appreciation from the Victorian State Government, in recognition of voluntary service to the community, International Year of Volunteers 2001,
  • 2000: Certificate of Recognition for the Best New Researcher in the faculty of Arts,
  • 2000: Certificate of Recognition from the Islamic Council of Philanthropy in Australia (ICPA) Sydney, for contribution to teacher training and professional development courses in community schools.


Dr Melika Yassin Sheik-Eldin is a Manager – Settlement Delivery Support Services  responsible for strategic community relations involving ongoing dialogue and capacity building partnerships with refugee communities and sector organizations for AMES in Victoria.

More importantly, Melika oversees and mentors the successful and internationally recognized Community Guides Network; a bespoke, best practice program using members of a CALD community as integration guides for newly arrived refugees from the same cultural and linguistic background. Melika held various positions including:

  • Manager Settlement Partnerships and Community Engagement  – AMES (2007 -2010)
  • Consultant on Refugee Resettlement (2008)
  • Senior Coordinator for Settlement and Community Partnerships - AMES (2006 – 2007)
  • Community Guides Coordinator – IHSS Program (2005 – 2006)
  •  AMES Social enterprises Coordinator, AMES (2003-2005)
  • Project Coordinator for the VCAL program for Youth from Newly Arrived Communities, AMES (2002–03)
  • Project Coordinator and Counsellor, Managed Individual Pathways Program for New Arrivals from The Horn Of Africa, AMES (2002)
  • Muslim Women's Help-Line Coordinator, Victorian Multicultural Commission (2001)
  • Project Coordinator, Victorian Immigrant & Refugee Women's Coalition Melbourne (2000–01)

This experience allows Melika to deliver new policy frameworks via formal consultation with community members and incorporate these learnings into the AMES Settlement Services model, while working with Managers through AMES to understand and incorporate the resulting implications for AMES wider education and employment programs.

  • Management member of the Eritrean community Association of Australia
  • Management member of the Horn of Africa Communities Network(HACN)- Women & youth Issues
  • Executive member of the Federation of African Australian Women’s Association
  • Coordinator of the first Horn of African Newspaper in Australia – The AMBASSADOR
  • Secretary of the African Australian Professional Association
  • HACN Representative in the Foundation for Young Australians Youth Leadership program
  • HACN Representative –African Youth Arts Project with Victoria College of Arts, Melbourne University
  • Joint Organiser of  the Horn of Africa Live Night celebrations ( 10 years)
  • Executive member of the Federation of African Communities Council of Australia
  • Board member of the Refugee Council of Australia
  • Member of the Australian delegation to the UNHCR in Geneva (Ex-com, NGOs and Tripartite consultations (2007 – 2011)
  • Member of the UNHCR Multi-disciplinary Mission to Eastern Sudan
  • Member of the UNHCR / Centre for Refugee Research delegation for the Refugee Women’s Dialogue Mission to Jordan
  • A member  in a number of Advisory Committees

Dr Melika Yassin Sheikh Eldin has represented AMES and presented at UNHCR Conferences in Geneva from 2007 to 2009 and was part of the 2008 UNHCR Mission to Sudan.

Watch Video:

2011 Refugee Conference - Dr Melika Yassin Sheikh-Eldin


Francis Acquah is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse who have worked across the public and private health care settings and Credentialed Mental Health Nurse awarded by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.

Francis has undertaken numerous roles including Triage/Intake Nurse, Community Psychiatric Nurse, Clinical Nurse Educator and Community Educator. He has worked in a range of settings include Acute Mental Health Services, Crisis Assessment and Treatment Teams, ORYGEN Youth Health and The Melbourne Clinic.

Francis has also worked as a Specialist Pharmaceutical representative with one of the leading pharmaceutical companies. He has interest in Transcultural psychiatry and have been a strong advocate for refugees and immigrants especially within the African community.

As a Mental Health First Aid instructor,  Francis uses his experiences to educate the community about mental health and reduction of stigma.

Francis is the Director of Positive Mental Health Program providing mental health support, psycho-social rehabilitation and reintegration to society.


Nana Owusu-Agyemang an internationally experienced commercial and finance executive.  He has spent 30 years working in operational improvement and line management including 11 years at Ernst & Young and also worked at Deloitte, Partners in Performance and VCI.  He has worked across several industries including banking and finance, manufacturing, mining and oil & gas.

He is currently the Vice President of The Australia Africa Business Council (VIC) and Head of Procurement for the State Bank of Mauritius.

Nana spent 9 years in a series of senior executive roles at ANZ Banking Group, including CFO Technology and Head of Global sourcing.

Before this, Nana spent 7 years in a series of roles at Norske Skog/Fletcher Challenge Paper including Global VP Procurement.

He has worked in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Chile, Canada, Norway, Bermuda, France, Holland and Germany.

He is a Chartered Accountant and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Supply and Purchasing.


Ogolotse Ntwaagae is a Multimedia Designer with a career spanning over six years. He is an all rounder and has experience in a vast majority of roles including animation, motion graphics, camera work, lighting, editing, graphic design and online applications.  He possesses versatile skills and is able to undertake various challenges from a majority of media/ communication related matters.

Og has lived, worked and studied in all five continents (Asia) Malaysia, (Africa) Botswana, (Europe) Switzerland, (America) New York and now resides in (Australia) Melbourne. 

He is the CEO of Africa Amara TV


1. RMIT overall winner
2. Victorian State overall Winner
3. Australian National Final 2nd runner up.

(All the awards were for the U film festival 2005 under the Australian Association of Campus Activities)


The National Awards 2011 Outstanding Community Leaders Award winner, Mr Haileluel Gebre-se lassie's leadership skills, emanating from extensive study, a career working with government, nongovernment organisations, higher education and grass roots communities.

In 2010 he was awarded and successfully completed the year long Williamson Community Leadership Program (WCLP). Prior to that in 2008 Haileluel was awarded the prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship and successfully completed a significant investigative project which included documenting integration strategies of refugees and migrants in several countries around the world, including USA, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. As well as received Victoria’s award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs for Meritorious Service in the Community in 2004, from the then Victorian Premier.

Haileluel initiated a number of successful programs and he has been serving as a board member of several organisations including the Footscray Community Arts Centre, the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria, and the African Think Tank. He has been instrumental in developing and implementing life changing programs including the fully funded African Communities Leadership Development Program in Victoria.


Dr Mohammed Aba-Bulgu

Before migrating to Australia in November 1989, Mohammed worked in higher education in his native country, Ethiopia and as an Accountant in Gaborone, Botswana.

Due to his firm belief in the value of education, Mohammed continued his studies at Monash University before completing his doctoral thesis in financial crisis at Victoria University in 2006. Mohammed is a CPA and he has been working in the financial services industry in senior positions for the last 25 years.

Mohammed’s expertise lie in corporate and fund accounting, superannuation and investment analysis, risk management and insurance, crisis management, and corporate revival and turnaround. He has made significant contributions to his Australian and international clients who have sought his service.

Mohammed is also involved in SMEs interested in investing and developing businesses in Africa particularly in Ethiopia. As a result he regularly travels to Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates, China and other parts of the world.

Other than his academic and professional interest, Mohammed has a commitment to community development and social justice. He has served the Oromo community in various capacities. He has conducted various workshops for young members of his community in employment search and tertiary education. He has served in Victoria University’s mentoring programs since the completion of his studies. Mohammed envisions vibrant and dynamic African individuals and communities making contributions at the highest level. Mohammed hopes for a united and empowered diaspora.

Mohammed is based in Melbourne and associated with MSM Loss Management.


Rashidi Sumaili and his family (wife and 4 children) fled the Democratic Republic of Congo and lived in a Tanzania refugee camp for nine years.

His qualifications included:
•A Diploma of General Education in the Democratic Republic of Congo
•A Certificate 4 in Business Administration in the Democratic Republic of Congo
•A Certificate 4 in Ministry: Pentecostal Evangelist Fellowship of Africa: Kibondo – Tanzania

He speaks 5 languages: Swahili, French, Lingala (spoken in the Republic Democratic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville), Kibembe (spoken in the territory of FIZI East of the Democratic Republic of Congo) and English.

In 1997-2005, Rashidi led the Pentecost Church as an evangelist providing bright, friendly and efficient church service in the refugee camp coordinating a team of 15 staff and 4 volunteers in delivering the church services and programs. He preached, organized and managed the church programs, supervised youth activities, and trained new staff.

In 2005, Rashidi and his family (wife and 5 children) were one of the first two African families to be settled in the Goulburn Valley under the Australia Regional Humanitarian Settlement Pilot.
In Australia, he is a member of Assembly of God in Shepparton. After completing Certificate 2 in Spoken and Written English at Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE, he worked with Saint Mel’s Primary School, Shepparton in 2007-2008 and Saint Brendan’s Primary School 2009-2010 as their teacher aide. He assisted the students in the classes with numeracy and literacy skills and facilitated liaison between the refugees’ families and schools.

In 2007-2008 he completed a Certificate 3 in Education, Wodonga TAFE, Victoria and then went on to complete a Diploma of Community Welfare in 2008 – 2009.
He then attended at Latrobe University in Bendigo and studied a double degree: Bachelor and Master of Social Work as a second year student. At the moment he is working and he is in the process of completing his Bachelor of Social Work at Victoria University.

Rashidi has also participated in a number of Leadership programs which have helped him to further develop knowledge and skills:
•African Community Leadership Development program, Victoria University, Melbourne
•Certificate Four in Frontline Management at Victoria University. Melbourne
•Fairly Leadership Program Graduate 2009
Rashidi has developed good communication skills and utilizes these in working with organizations, individuals, families, and various groups in solution – based planning.

Some of his community involvements have been:
•working with Uniting Care Cutting Edge and the Ethnic Council of Shepparton as a tafe student in 2008 and 2009, he developed and organized sessional information for newly arrived refugees
•He also organized different meetings that brought the African young people together
•Rashidi developed a relationship with the Rotary Club of Shepparton in order to run a mentoring program that will help newly arrivals African young people to build relationships and develop and identify their goals through linking them with local business mentors
•He has initiated a number of programs intended to empower and support newly arrived Africans in the Goulburn Valley including: “Building La Nouvelle Generation Program”. This was in partnership with Goulburn Murray Local Learning and Employment Network (GMLLEN). This aimed to develop leadership skills and provide real- life experiences for African young people (April 2010).
•Rashidi has spoken on WIN news and in other media
•In Africa, he preached in morning Sunday service and has also done so in Australia
•He participates annually in the organization committees of Harmony Day and Refugee Week
•Since 2009, he has been a board member of the Shepparton Australia Day Committee. He organises volunteers and participates in planning the program
•As the former member of the United Nations Association of Victoria 2009-2010, Rashidi worked with other local members to organise and support the United Nations’ program in Shepparton and develop networking across sectors
•He is a former board member of Family Care and Word and Mouth, a Youth organisation

Special achievements have been:
•Rashidi established the Goulburn Valley Congolese Association in 2006
•He established a Congolese soccer team which developed into the Kialla United Football Club in Shepparton
•He was awarded the ‘Manager’s Choice Award’ in April 2008 by McDonald’s
•He had the opportunity to represent the Congolese community and to talk to the representative of the Commonwealth of Australia when she visited Shepparton in 2008
•In 2009 became an Australian citizen
•He was awarded the Shepparton Academic Award on 26th January 2010 by the City of Greater Shepparton
•He was awarded the Victorian Refugee Recognition Award by the State of Victoria on 17th July2010
•Rashidi is the secretary of the GV. African Communities’ Association
. Since 2011, Rashidi has been supporting and assisting African young people to participate in an International showcase soccer trial in England and Italy.

Rashidi currently works as a Project Officer with the Goulburn Murray Local Learning and Employment Network. This year, with collaboration and support from different levels of government, Indigenous organisations, welfare organisations, schools, and other community organisations, Rashidi has developed a “Building a New Generation” program that aims to:
•develop collaboration and build partnerships between young people from diverse backgrounds
•develop knowledge of different cultures in order to build harmony and tolerance
•provide participants with leadership skills and increased knowledge of systems and cultures
•develop sustainable networks
•help the young people understand that their local community and to become valued members of it

Rashidi is one of a group of people who have initiated and supported the development of a College in DRC/Baraka named ‘institute superiur development rural de Fiz i in DRC”. (Rural Development institute of Fizi in DRC) He’s in a process of raising money for the College and in long term he’s looking for Australians professionals who will travel to DRC to teach the Congolese AFL, English and other subjects.

He is an active community member and leader winning both state and local recognition and awards for his contribution to numerous association boards and programs that support newly arrived families.


is a professional Australian rules footballer (COLLING- WOOD defender) in the Australian Football League.

He was born to a Brazilian mother and a Congolese father in Rio de Janeiro, and moved to Western Australia when he was 3 years old.

He played most of his football as a medium defender in the Australian Football League.

He was picked up with pick 21 in the 2004 AFL Rookie Draft by Collingwood, and made his debut in Round 18 of 2005 against Fremantle at the MCG. He kicked a great goal against the Kangaroos shortly after his debut, and did enough to be retained on the rookie list. In 2006 Harry showed more improvement and was elevated to the senior list again during the year,  playing a total of 9 games.

He was elevated to the senior list for season 2007. In 2008, he came 5th in the Copeland Trophy count, Collingwood's Best and Fairest.In 2009, he came 4th in the Copeland Trophy.

He has played in numbers 43, 30 and his current number 8. In 2010 he has won his first All-Australian honour in the half-back flank. He was instrumental in Collingwoods's 2010 grand final replay win over St Kilda and kicked a long goal from the boundary line late in the game.

Harry has been recruited by the Centre for International Health at Melbourne's Burnet Institute as a youth ambassador, the idea being that the exotic, articulate young footballer might provide a voice to engage other young people on issues  such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, maternal and infant mortality and the many other afflictions of need.


David Nyuol Vincent is among the 40 local champions appointed by the Australian Prime Minister as the 2012 People of Australia Ambassadors.

David fled South Sudan’s civil war with his father when he was a child. They made it to a refugee camp in Ethiopia but were separated and David was trained as a child soldier.

18 years after leaving South Sudan, David was given a humanitarian visa to come to Australia in 2004. He was awarded a scholarship and completed a Bachelor of Arts, with a double major in Political Science & Criminology at the University of Melbourne.

He has spent the years since gaining extensive experience working with young people through community development and family support programs.

In the last six years he has started a number of programs in Melbourne and South Sudan, and also co-founded the Sudanese Summit, an annual event held in Juba aimed at empowering South Sudanese youth to participate more in decision-making and become agents of change.

Recently he was appointed as Australia people Ambassador and one of Melbourne’s Top 100 most influencial, inspirational, provocative and creative people for 2011.

David is soon to become a published author with his book “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Die” being released in July 2012.


Majak Daw at North Melbourne training. Picture: Stephen Harman Herald Sun

Majak Daw (born 11 March 1991, in Khartoum, Sudan) is a professional Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League (AFL). Daw and his family in Australia are refugees from the civil wars in Sudan. Daw became the first Sudanese Australian to be drafted to an AFL club when he was contracted to the North Melbourne Football Club in the 2009 AFL Draft. Daw's drafting gained international attention: it was reported by the BBC and the Voice of America. Daw made his first appearance for North Melbourne in an NAB Cup match on 20 February 2011. Daw signed a new contract at the end of the 2011 season that will keep him at the North Melbourne Football Club for 2 more years.


Dr Kinfe Abera Kahssay is of Ethiopian background and is currently employed as a Community Liaison Officer at Sunshine Family Relationship Centre. He has a Ph.D. degree in Pedagogics, MSc degree in Education, and Diploma in teaching secondary college. Dr Kinfe has worked as a lecturer at Victoria University in the school of Education. He has worked in different research projects related to new emerging refugee communities in regards to health and settlement.
Dr Kinfe was a project coordinator of the YOUTH 2 YOUTH program in building positive settlement pathways for the Young African new settlers from Refugee backgrounds. He works to inspire and motivate African community members to utilise the vast opportunities available through employment, education, research, leadership, social and community engagements.


Youth worker Asha Saad Saleh has been described by the management of Jesuit Social Services as "one of our organization’s best assets

Asha was the  2011 African Australian Young Leaders Awards Winner and works to build a just society where all people can live to their full potential by partnering with the community.

Eritrean Asha Saleh has been a full time worker with JESUIT SOCIAL SERVICES for three years. Asha helps run the  Jesuit’s African Programs  based at the heart of the target group in Flemington, St Albans and Heidelberg. The project operates in active partnership with local Horn of Africa community organisations and builds capacity for many of the African organisations active in the area. She is central to the success of the project.

Among the projects successfully initiated and implemented by Asha alongside the Jesuit’s team includes: The Workplace Development Program (WDP), this  is a work placement program for skilled African migrants who have been unable to find work in Australia  organized by Jesuit Social Services  in collaboration with the National Australian Bank. In fact,  several African Australians who have completed the program have gone on to secure ongoing employment with the National Australian Bank .

Also, Asha
Saleh came up with the idea for a delightful new story book called A is for Aunty and Z is for Zigni: An alphabet book of African stories, now being used in some institutions  in Victoria.  Asha was among the best Australia Youth Workers specially selected to meet with Prince William at Government House when he visited Victoria. Asha is currently an official Ambassador for AFL team, The North Melbourne Kangaroos.


Tamirat Gebremariam

Tamirat is an Ethiopian born migrant living in Melbourne as an artist. He completed his diploma from school of Fine Art at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia in 1993; where he then went on to have several solo and group exhibitions extensively in and around Egypt, and Australia. In 2001 Tamirat moved to Sydney where he studied Digital Art and Media at Metro Screen before moving to Melbourne. In 2010 Tamrat completed his Master of Visual Art at the University of Melbourne, Faculty of Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). He perused his career further and currently Tamirat undertaking Master of Fine art by research at U.M faculty of the VCA. In 2009 Tamirat was awarded the Martin Foley MP award and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Women's Association Postgraduate Encouragement Award. At the VCA Margaret Lawrence gallery he was awarded 2011-12 APA (Australian post graduate Award) Scholarship, from university of Melbourne.

Tamirat’s work has collected around the world, including Ethiopia, Egypt, USA, Canada and Australia include recently Jaycar electronics, with his friends and families and also the most important a portrait of Dr. Catherine Hamlin, founder of the Fistula hospital in Ethiopia. Among Tamirat works


Daniel Seifu is an Ethiopian music-director, pianist, keyboardist and composer.

He studied at Addis Ababa University Yared Music School as well as at the Ethiopian National Theatre.

He worked as a  musician and coordinator of pop and jazz music bands as well as composer and arranger of National Theater of Ethiopia at different major musical events.

Here in Melbourne, Daniel has been pivotal in many of the Ethiopian bands established in Australia including the sensational JAsmaris, Afrohabesha, Black Jesus and Dereb the Ambassador.

Daniel  has been teaching music at the Footscray Arts Center and also had actively involved with MAV music mentorship programs where he recorded several CD Albums with different bands including Dereb The Ambassador’s self-titled album of 2010.  

Daniel  is currently working with Multicultural Arts Victoria on different, high level, cultural projects such as Lion On The Move, a touring Australian band that went to Ethiopia recently and performed.

He also has been working for many years, with many different musical combinations including as a solo pianist at different well-known and reputable jazz clubs, bars and public venues.

Danny has worked and coordinated with several well establish Ethiopian musicians such as the mega pop star and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Aster Awke and the BBC World Music Award winner, Mahmoud Ahmed.

His years of learning and working as a musician here in Australia and abroad have resulted in an exceptional technique and deep understanding of diverse musical styles.

Daniel’s open approach has led to an extension of his musical horizon to incorporate imaginative experiments in African and Western music styles. He has continued to amaze his devoted fans everywhere.

Daniel  is a highly skilled keyboardist and is keen to share his heritage and skills with Western musicians to create a style of world music respecting the rhythms of his cultural background.

This piano master is perhaps a major exponent and an ambassador of the prestigious St. Yared School of the classical Ethiopian music.


Daniel Zewdu of Ethiopian origin, has been living in Australia for the past thirteen years.  Since his arrival in Australia, Daniel’s contribution to the Ethiopian community has been enormous.  Daniel has served his community as the vice president for the Ethiopian community association in Victoria.  During his tenure, he helped newly arrived Ethiopian and African refugees in Victoria by actively advocating for the better integration of these communities in Australia.

Daniel is the founder and director of ARADA Ethiopian Cultural Centre.  The centre is home for Ethiopian Australian living in Melbourne where they can actively practice and maintain their rich tradition and cultures; sustained and integrated Ethiopian culture with Australian culture.  Daniel is also a founder of ARADA Ethiopian Radio in Victoria and currently sacrificing his time, energy and resources by serving his community as the producer and presenter of the weekly ARADA Ethiopian radio.

Daniel is a graduate in accounting and in community development in Victoria University and he’s done a Leadership Program through Monash University. He’s an Art Envoy for Footscray Community Arts Centre since 2006, and he’s currently an active member of Victorian African Health Advocacy Network.

Daniel is a reference group committee member of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations.

Daniel is working as a training consultant where he still continues to provide support and advice the African communities in developing their skills and earning qualifications to better their lives and those around them in Victoria.

Daniel is currently nominated and selected for his significant contribution and outstanding work in the community, and for his dedicate time to voluntary work within local community and the community at large for the last 10 years, as the Best Victorian Refugee Record Award 2013 organised by the Victorian Multicultural Commission.


Asfaw Sahlu is originally from Ethiopia who was a professional soccer player for the national team of Ethiopia.

Asfaw has been a sports enthusiast his entire life. His love for sports led him into a career in sports conditioning and fitness training.  Since settling in Australia in 1993, Asfaw has extensively committed himself to developing skills and involvement in personal training, soccer and other health benefits, supporting the African Australian community.

Asfaw majored in physical education and holds multiple certifications from:

  • Burnet Institute- July 2008; Employed by Burnet Institute at Austin Research centre (2006-2007) and worked as a soccer coach for Vietnamese youths recovering from drug addiction.
  • African Australian Sports Association-July 2008; for his outstanding involvement as a soccer coach and personal trainer for the African youth.
  • VICSEG for his positive support to young people who may be at risk of early school leaving.
  • Has a master personal trainer certificate from Australian Institute of Fitness,
  • Senior soccer coaching license from Victoria soccer federation
  • He currently coaches the AVA Seagulls –Juniors as a personal trainer and soccer coaching.
  • Has been a personal trainer for 20 women, most after birth, to address some of their weight and emotional concerns

 Asfaw is one of the unsung heroes with limitless effort to change the lives of African Australians in Victoria.


Ferid Abdi Yonis

Managing  Director

B.Eng. (Civil), M.Eng. (Const. Manag.),
MIE. (Aust), R.B.P-CE,


Ferid A.Yonis is an Ethiopian born and immigrated to Australia in 1992.  Ferid is a founder of FAYCONSULT PTY.LTD, and a professional engineer with a combination of 18 years of progressive and responsible experience, generally participated as a senior level of structural engineer and managing director of a company in Australia.  Ferid specialized with classifying materials for advance sustainable economic infrastructure and specifically intricate with cost benefits analyses and life cycle benefits for existing infrastructures and stipulating modern construction materials for proposed sustainable infrastructure projects. He is a Registered Professional Engineer & Certified Building Practitioner.

Ferid and his firm had carried out more than 1780 projects ranging from 10 million to 88 million dollars’ worth of budgets throughout national and international in the past.  The vast majority of his works has been in Australia and predominately involved in commercial and industrial sustainable infrastructures. His professional consulting services had have achieved a significant contributions for the country such as; City of Dubai, City of Tauranga (New Zealand), Singapore, Vietnam and City of Dockland in Melbourne, etc

During his previous practical management experience at local government infrastructures, Ferid was involved with building project management, traffic management devices, and specific experience in costing, planning, estimating, contract administration and budgeting, as well as monitoring and reporting of the project milestone was undertaken at Whitehorse City Council and Managing Infrastructure Asset Managements at Banyule City Council.

Following his professional career, Ferid actively engaged on various local and international companies owned projects.  Further to academic studies, Ferid obtained his First degree in Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) followed by Master of Engineering and Construction Management at Swinburne University of Technology. His involvement in research study obtained world first mix design for his research founding in concrete technology, his research was titled as “Recycled Rubber as an Additive to Concrete to Improve Impact Resistance“

Ferid was also voluntarily engaged in Hararian Community Association Inc. and Australian Saay Harari Association Inc. During his involvements, he had taken on board of management leadership roles and contributes a guide to the community, through managing their day to day activities and designing a new management structure as well as community project design and managed for Saay Harari Community Centre that reflects the current diversity of their organisation, thus ensuring their success.


Fred Alale is a management consultant in a global “Big 4” accountancy firm specialising in finance and performance management.  He holds a 1st Class Honours Degree in Accounting and Finance as well as being a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA UK) with over 12 years finance and consulting experience including board governance review and assessment.  He has worked with a number of global companies and governments in both the UK and Australia.

Fred is the President of the Nigerian Society of Victoria Incorporated where he focuses on making the association a role model for other community organisations and executing activities and initiatives that unite the Nigerian and African communities in Victoria, whilst showcasing their immense contribution to the wider Australian Community.

Fred is also the Treasurer of Incubate Foundation Incorporated where his focus is on youth careers, coaching and mentoring initiatives.

Fred moved to Melbourne from London in 2010 and enjoys travelling, playing golf and running.  He is married to Claire and they have two girls (Holly and Lily).


Bekelech Habteselasie  is an Assistant manager Accounting & Finance at   Aisin(Australia) Pty Ltd.

Originally from Ethiopia, she has a bachelor and masters of accounting from Victoria University of Technology and is an Associate CPA (Certified Practicing Accountant). 

Furthermore, Belekech is the Treasurer of the African Think Tank Inc, Victoria and has worked as a Senior Assistant Financial Accountant at UNIFIED HEALTH CARE GROUP. She also worked as a Sessional Lecturer/ Tutor at Central Queensland University.


William Bol Deng is a former vice president for Sudanese Community Association of Australia Inc. During his term in office, he worked tirelessly to assists Sudanese community to settlement in Australia.  William also  worked closely with services providers to ensure that  services providers understands  cultural issues, settlement issues facing young people and families from refugee background while settling in Australia. William is a great activist; he is passionate in human right issues including rights of women and children. His desire in human rights helps him to advocates on behalf of community by ensuring that  negative perceptions on refugee communities  is changed as media  sometimes do reports negatively on  African refugee communities.

William came to Australia as a refugee and has worked in refugee camp as a counselor and a manager for counseling Centre in Kenya for seven years.  He is currently working for the Spectrum Migration Resources Centre, helping refugees and migrations with settlement issues.


William holds a Bachelor degree in Social Work, Diploma in Community welfare and in May, 2012,   he will complete his Master degree in International Community.


Mulugeta Abebe currently works as Community Engagement / Health Promotion Project Officer at Merri Community Health Services.  He was previously a settlement support, settlement consultants and cultural competency advisor service provider, focusing on settlement, Health, Education, aged care, ethnic aged and Migrant Refugee health and wellbeing.  Mulugeta is also the owner of an Ethiopian Restaurant.

In 1990, Mulugeta arrived in Australia at the age of 14 without family as a stowaway from Ethiopia. Leaving behind his family he had to work on any jobs to support his family back home and himself.  He started studying English on arrival in Australia because he could not speak English .

From this humble beginning, Mulugeta has progressed to make the following achievements in Australia:


  • BA (Social Science) and Diploma on Community development
  • Participated in producing a publication on Preventing Childhood Obesity.
  • Currently involved in a Child oral health project. This project aims to address the social, cultural and environmental influences of child oral health in refugee and migrant communities. The project is conducted in conjunction with Melbourne University and other organisations.

·     The founder of the Ethiopian new Amharic radio program for Ethiopian Australia communities at 3ZZZ FM. the radio program was established to  address the complex issues surrounding the delivery of useful information to the Ethiopian Australia communities. At this radio program,  Mulugeta provides practical information and Ethiopian Music.

  • The founder of the Ethiopian new Amharic Community TV program for Ethiopian Australia communities at C31 UHF to address the complex issues

·      From 2006 – 2008 Mulugeta was appointed as public relation officer for Ethiopian Community Association of Melbourne and Victoria also has been coordinate the Ethiopian community radio programs on 3CR, and has represented the community at a number of forums professionally, and has been actively involved with the other African community in Victoria for 18 years.

Mulugeta  has participated in producing policy and education materials such as:

Publication; (Preventing Childhood Obesity) Evidence Policy and Practice

According to Mulugeta,  the book will be an invaluable resource for public health practitioners, early childhood professionals, health care providers and clinicians working to reduce the incidence and prevalence of obesity in their communities.

“I am hoping to make a difference in the fields of health and settlement policy"...  says Mulugeta .


Mr Njanja, originally from Kenya, holds a Master of Applied Technology from Monash University. He is a Director at the Job Training Institute (JTI) which he co-founded in 2008. JTI is a medium sized Registered Training Organization (RTO]) licensed to offer training across Australia focusing on Community Services and Health qualifications. Mr Njanja’s entrepreneurial skills have been acquired and manifest through interaction with multinationals in Africa and co-founding many successful businesses in IT, construction and business management in both Kenya and Australia.

Mr Njanja’s philanthropic activities and leadership in community organizations is widely recognized in Australia. He is the founder Chairman of the Men Forum Inc. a not-for-profit organization, whose primary objective is to bring men together to share their experiences and knowledge with a view to applying the same in quest to become better men, better husbands, better fathers and better community members. He is also AFL Multicultural Ambassador having been inducted in 2014. This role opens a whole lot of opportunities to the African community to take advantage of the most popular sport in AustMr Njanja is the Assistant Secretary-General of Africa Think Tank. Africa Think Tank is the undisputed apex body on African affairs advocacy in Australia in addition to its Leadership Training program which over the years has trained leaders who have gone on to take their rightful place in this great land of Australia.

Mr Njanja is also listed in Federation Square as one of the contributors to President Nelson Mandela Memorial alongside other global contributors in tribute to the much loved and larger than life Madiba.

Currently Mr Njanja is engaged in a drive to launch Swahili School for the Swahili speaking Africa [mainly East and Central Africa] Central which with time is expected to spread to the larger Australian community so that even casual visitor to Swahili speaking parts of Africa will get equipped prior to their visit.

Along side Swahili School is the "Youth Leadership Forum" which among other objectives aims to equip, youth with Life Skills to survive and excel in today's world. The program also aims to take youth from self-destructive strive to " strive to thrive".





Seble Girma Jazmaris

Seble Girma's musical career almost didn't get started. Girma's father opposed her singing on the grounds that it was an unsuitable career for a girl in Ethiopia (a view shared by the strictly Christian community to which the Girma family belonged). In fact, her father was certain his 12-year-old daughter had abandoned her aspirations of becoming a performer - until he turned on the TV one night and saw young Seble in full voice.

"I was just singing in a competition in school," says Girma, who, at 23, is now the singer and lead dancer for the Melbourne-based Ethiopian Circus Band, a five-piece group that performs a blend of traditional and contemporary Ethiopian music and dance at festivals and community events around Melbourne. "I didn't know the media were there. And my dad was just at home watching TV, and there I was!" she laughs. "The television presenters were talking about me and they told everyone how to contact me, and they didn't even ask me about it."

More surprised by his daughter's talent than angered by her defiance, Girma senior quickly realised he would have little choice but to allow her to pursue her chosen career, and so a star of the local scene was born.

Girma spent much of the next two years touring Ethiopia as a professional performer with local pop acts. But in 1996, and aged just 14, she was noticed by the producers of Circus Ethiopia, a touring children's circus established in 1991 to promote Ethiopian culture abroad and to teach disadvantaged children circus arts.

Girma was offered a place in the circus's live band. She initially refused, preferring the idea of staying close to her family and fronting local groups. But after attending a few rehearsals and having enormous fun performing with children her own age, she decided to join.

"It wasn't hard for me because most of the circus were kids," she explains. "At that time we didn't even think about being away from our family because it was really fun, free, you know?"

The circus toured Europe later that year and again in 1997, its young acrobats, dancers and band garnering glowing reviews. As Girma remembers, the act's leading performers were afforded celebrity-like status on their trips home to Ethiopia between tours. "I became really popular in my area. It was like the kids wouldn't even come up to me and say hello. They were like, 'She went to Europe and came back!' It was crazy," she laughs. "I was famous, but I was just In 1998, the circus travelled to Australia. Again, critics heralded the tour, but after the final show of the tour 15 performers - almost half the troupe - defected, applying for refugee status in Australia. When I ask Girma about this, she shifts in her seat, but remains silent. She later says it's not something she wants talk about, adding that she still has "great memories" of her time in the circus.

But according to an article that appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald in 2002, the young performers had suffered continued exploitation and abuse at the hands of circus management.

The group, who had no relatives in Australia, travelled to Melbourne and were taken in by Footscray's large Ethiopian community, many of whom had fled their homeland in the early '90s following the country's civil war. The younger members were placed in the care of state child-welfare officers, while those over 16 were provided with emergency housing.

Girma, who stayed with an Ethiopian family in Yarraville and now lives in Brunswick, remembers the time vividly. "We had a really, really hard time for about two years. It's a different people, a different culture, different food too," she says. "I had to learn everything. I couldn't go to school to learn English, because if I don't work I can't earn money, and if I can't earn money I can't survive. I had no family to support me."

In 2000, the 15 performers were granted permanent residency on humanitarian grounds. While one joined Circus Oz and others pursued work and study, Girma and three former circus band mates - Abay Abebe, Abiy Abebe (no relation to Abay) and Tiglu Mekuera - began practising at the Footscray Community Arts Centre, combining traditional instruments such as the kirar (Ethiopian harp) with keyboard, saxophone and drums.

It was here they met Duncan Foster, the centre's then music coordinator, who began jamming with them and soon joined as their bass player and manager. And while working jobs and studying on the side, the band began playing club dates and small community events, their frenetic live show gaining them quite a following in the western-suburbs African community.

They hope to expand their audience to the wider community, and maybe even cut an album some time soon. But for now Girma's aspirations are simple. "A singer," she says with a smile. "That's what I want to be."

Watch video 1 | 2 | 3 | 4



Majok (Shaggy) Ngong



Majok moved to Australia in 2005 with his family and currently lives in the Wyndham area. 

Majok always loved sports, especially soccer and that was the only the sport he knew when growing up. However that wasn’t the case when Majok moved to Australia, he had to make some changes to his lifestyle so he tried Australian Football  and ever since he has  enjoyed playing footy and watching it.

Majok started his footy with Wyndham Vale for only 1 year before moving across to Manor Lakes Football Club and now he is playing for Werribee District in the Western Regional Football League.

Before joining Werribee Football Club (VFL) as Multicultural Development Officer, Majok worked and volunteered with different organisations such as New Hope Foundation, Werribee Sport and Fitness Centre, Woolworths, Western Bulldogs and also a Wellbeing Officer at Manor Lake football Club.  Education wise, Majok has completed his VCE and recently finished a Youth work and Community development Diploma.

Notable Achievements

  • Youth Leader at Migrant Resource Centre (MRC)
  • Wyndham Vale Community Leader
  • Leader of Today at Youth Council (YC)
  • ‘Most Improved Player’ Award 2009 at Werribee City Soccer Club
  • The Circle of Courage (RAP)
  • Youth work
  • Breaking down Barrier (NHF)
  • Team Africa (Captain)

More profiles to be added

David Garang also known as Grey Bull.

David is the current President of the South Sudanese Artists Association Australia, and a South Sudanese hip hop artists. Grey Bull was also nominated and secured the third position on the South Sudanese Most Popular rapper 2014 competition.

 Grey Bull a.k.a Thon Garang: was born during the years of Sudan civil war between the Southern part of the country and the government mainly in the northern part of country Sudan.  In fact Grey Bull doesn’t know his exact date of birth but his mother told him he  was born in the year of ‘’Palakol Festival’’  which took place around December 1982. With this knowledge Grey Bull estimate that he might have been born in the late 1982 0r early 1983.

Grey Bull left his country for Ethiopia when his father got transferred for medical attention to Dimma Refugee camp for medical attention in 1989. It took a military convoy carrying his father five days driving through the bushes to make it to Ethiopia. At about two weeks later his father passed away leaving Grey Bull in the care of his single mother.

 The life got harder but his mother tried even harder to bring him up like a kid in the care of his both parents. She enrolled him in kindergarten few months later after the arrival. Grey Bull successfully graduated from kindergarten and proceeded to primary school in 1991.

Grey Bull was trained as a child soldier just like other male students attending Dimma Refugee Camp primary school at that time. His mother got no choice as it was the only option available for every parent who wants their male children to go to school. It was a hard life in the training camp as they were constantly subjected to hard labour and extreme punishments during the military training, some die during those training. They were not allowed to see their parents or even go to market to buy anything and anyone caught in the market was bitterly beaten and imprison for weeks. Grey Bull graduated successfully as a child soldier; they were taught how to use guns but not allowed to own them since they were very young.

When the war broke out in Ethiopia in 1991, his mother and all the refugees were evacuated back to Southern Sudan and Grey Bull was left in the camp as a child soldier in Ethiopia. They were the second last group to be evacuated as their officers were waiting for the commands from the higher authorities of Sudan people liberation army/movement (S.P.L.A/M) to evacuate.  They trekked for two days without food towards the boarder of South Sudan were a great number of children lost their lives due to exhaustion and attacks from the then Ethiopian Rebel group fighting the government of Ethiopia. Grey Bull nearly drown trying to cross the stream and had to be rescued by an S.P.L.A soldier who happened to be standing at the other side of the stream at that moment, maybe to help the very young ones to cross who knows?

They reached South Sudan two days later where Grey Bull met his maternal uncle who helped him to illegally leave the camp and reunite with his mother. In South Sudan life got even worst, many people died from hunger, unknown diseases and unknown gunmen attacks. There were no medical services, shelters, people sleep under trees and cover themselves with plastic bags or animal skins during the rain. Grey Bull and his family survived through many hardships but like always ‘’what doesn’t kill you make you stronger’’.   Grey Bull spend most of his teenage life in Boma town in South Sudan.

 In the year 1998, Grey Bull went back to Ethiopia for studies.  ‘’It used to take us three to four days trekking on foot in thick bushes, up and down the hills and across the rivers and mountains going back to school since there were no roads connecting South Sudan and Ethiopia. There were many occasions were we got attacked by wild animals at night and fatal shootings and robbery by local tribes men on our way back to School. With no choices left, it was a go to school or die trying to go school for us’’.

Although Grey Bull got traditional songs that dated back to his childhood, it was in Boma around 1995 when he developed interest in playing local guitar (Rababa) and composing his own songs. Few years later he was able to play in public venues and private parties.

His mum got very upset when she found out he was a singer and tried to discouraged him by saying ‘’music was for beggars and that she doesn’t wants him to be a beggar’’.  She thought Grey Bull was showing signs of weakness in the family by becoming a beggar (a singer).He accepted her mum’s proposal to stop singing just to calm her down but he kept on playing at the local parties and making sure his mum doesn’t finds out.

In the year 2000, he move to Kakuma refugees’ camp in Kenya to seek for asylum and follow his studies. Grey Bull enrolled at Nile Primary school and registered with UNHCR to obtain a ration card for food and other services. He graduated from primary school and joined Napata secondary school kakuma in 2001 before relocating to Nakuru town and enrolled at Summerfield high school. He dropped out from high school in 2004, third year due to financial problems and moved to Nairobi in 2004.

In the year 2005, God almighty opens another door for Grey Bull. He got a scholarship for college studies at Augustana College, Nairobi Campus.  Money was not a big issue for him anymore. He started going out on the weekends for clubbing and birthday parties. That is the time he started listening to modern music and watch music videos which got him inspired to follow his singing life style again. Grey Bull headed down to recording studio and record his first song he wrote when he was in high school. His friends got impress with his work and encourage him to go for it. He performed for the first time on stage live in Nairobi at a show organised by New Sudan artists association (N.S.A.A) the night before he flew to Australia in March, 2006. Although he didn’t won, his present was felt by many audiences.

When he arrived in Australia in 2006, his first live music performance at a wedding in Melbourne was a success but it didn’t last longer because he did not have connections in the music industry in Melbourne.

Grey Bull is currently working with several local artists and Djs Australia wide and his next step is to publicise his music in and outside Australia to build his fans base. He also worked alongside well experience artists, Djs and featured on some of the local and international radio air shows around Australia, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda and performed alongside well renowned rappers and singers and participated in public events and festivals across the globe.  He formed S.S.B music crew in 2008 and hosted S.S.B talent show in 2010. Finally Grey Bull is seeing signs of success coming his way after a long struggle for education and survival. What gets him to where he is now is his great courage, strong will and hard work.

His main goal is to entertains, educates and become successful in his music career, promote peace, unity and help the disadvantaged individuals like him to set and achieve their goals.
Watch videos: 1 | 2 | 3 | | 5 


Abdul & Rozenn Husband and wife, Community leaders, Multiskills, Multicultural, variety  with diverse service  in the middle of Footscray and Collingwood.

Abdul arrived in Australia as a refugee in 1998. His dream was to show the beauty of Ethiopian culture and Ethiopian history to the Australian community. He soon worked full-time as a meat-boner and during his spare time, started putting together Jewellery, using Ethiopian traditional beads which he then sold at week-end markets and festivals. In 2004, after successfully completing a NEIS program, he opened the first Ethiopian craft and essentials store in Melbourne.

Abdul has always been generous with his community. The shop soon became a meeting point for young and older Ethiopians who used to come and visit Abdul for a chat, a piece of advice, some help with paperwork or good tips on where to find a job.’’

Always proud of his background, he often donated craft and other items to community events. He also often participated in showcasing Ethiopia at festivals, markets, university open days and other events.
A couple of years ago, Abdul and his wife opened Konjo Cafe and Restaurant with the aim of offering the best of Ethiopian culture through food and coffee. Konjo was the first ever Ethiopian/African restaurant to take part in the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, a major annual event that reaches audiences all over Australia and beyond.

More recently, Abdul has strengthened his presence in Footscray. He has taken part in community talks with Victoria Police in a move to facilitate relations between people of African descent and the wider community, including members of the police. In 2012, Abdul was appointed Vice President of the Footscray Business Association, hence strengthening the presence of African-Australian in Footscray.

Also in 2012, along with a few other people, Abdul voiced the deep concerns of traders in his area, many of them African businesses, gravely affected by some major Regional Railway Link works.  This led to the creation of a Business Reference Group Committee, of which Abdul was part, that worked on finding alternative ways to compensate for the loss of business suffered by the affected traders. In 2013, Abdul was nominated one of several ambassadors for Footscray as part of a project to promote Footscray.

As described in www.footscraylife.com.au  Konjo is a recent addition to Footscray’s Ethiopian café /restaurant scene and has quickly established itself as a popular destination for people young and old. In 2001, French-born Rozenn met Abdul, from Ethiopia in Melbourne and with a lot of hard work and support from their community, they have set up a thriving business in Footscray with their two children.

Rozenn supported the start of the business by working as a teacher’s assistant of French in Victorian schools, while Abdul worked in an abattoir in the mornings and ran the shop in the afternoons. They are well known in the Melbourne Ethiopian community, having previously established a restaurant in Collingwood. Over the years they have helped and encouraged many family members and friends to start businesses in and around Footscray. They’ve also seen many changes to the area. Rozenn & Abdul from Konjo represent the new flavours of Footscray.

Read more 1| 2 | 3 |  4 



Zioné Walker-Nthenda has been a lawyer for over 12 years.  She started her career in intellectual property law and after a brief detour into documentary film making, she recalibrated her career into social justice law and has worked at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Victoria Legal Aid, Women's Legal Service Victoria. 

Based on her interest in systemic improvement, Zioné enrolled in a double masters; an MBA and a Masters of Politics and Policy.  Her interest is in using a human rights framework to develop organisational improvement.  This interest has led her to work in the Corporate Strategy and Operational Improvement Department at Victoria Police as the human rights portfolio manager.

On the community front, Zione is the co-founder and President of Incubate Foundation, a mentoring organisation focused on developing leadership programs and employment pathways for young African Australians.


Bareetu Aba-Bulgu has a vision to empower women through business. To achieve this she

is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Melbourne and

hopes to further her studies in law. Bareetu is the inaugural winner of the Empowering

Women of Monash Award in 2012 which recognised her work with The Salvation Army,

Waverley Hockey Club and the Canteen Creek community in the Northern Territory during

her school’s cultural exchange trip. Bareetu completed her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award

in 2013 and was selected to speak on behalf of all awardees at Government House. She is

now a founding member of the Alumni Committee at Awards Victoria. In her spare time,

Bareetu is an enthusiastic hockey player and double bassist.


VALANGA KHOZA storyteller, dancer, musician, writer was born in South Africa, where he spent his youth in Alexandra (a black township of Johannesburg) and in rural Transvaal. Music, dance and storytelling were an integral part of his community, where many could neither read nor write. Following his migration to Australia in 1976, Valanga, a consummate musician since youth, has devoted himself to performing.

Bringing Africa to life through stories, song and dance, Valanga’s solo performance Out Of Africa has toured schools throughout Australia to the enthusiastic acclaim of students and teachers in primary and secondary schools. Growing up in a community where many could neither read nor write, music and dance and storytelling were an integral part of the culture of his people.


Maha is an Australian Eritrean who have migrated to Australia about 20yrs., Maha managed to complete chemical Engineering degree with Swinburne University. She has been working in the employment sector (job network- JSA Australia currently) for about 10years now and working as Employment Services manager with AMES for about 4.5 yrs. Having gone through the refugee and settlement in a new country Maha was able of understanding many of the barriers clients have, and has spent most of her time assisting newly arrived refugee in improving their barriers by advocating on their behalf to sustain employment.


Mohamed Abdulrahman

Manager, Communications and Advocacy

AAMEYS (African Australians Multicultural Employment and Youth Services)

Mohamed Abdurrahman is currently working with the African Australian Community while studying for his MBA at the Australian Institute for Business. Mohamed has extensive work experience in community support, after working in the financial sector for over 8 years, and managing small businesses for over 5 years, he’s embarked in to his old passion of Community Empowerment. During the 1980th, after graduating from Ramsis College, Mohamed worked for the UNHCR office in Cairo Egypt for 5 years representing Horn of African Refugees and Students.

In 2011 Mohamed worked as a Community Liaison officer with Southern Cross Education Institute while managing its relocation to North Melbourne where a large number of African Australians reside.

In December 2013, he successfully coordinated “Fun Under the Aussie Sun” festival sponsored by the Blue Light foundation together with Victoria Police, he was also a member in the Mandela’s Memorial Service Committee.

Mohamed Abdulrahman is an active Eritrean Community Leader. He is a Co-founder of Eritrean Australians for Justice and Peace (EAJP), a non-profit civic and educational organization based in Melbourne- Australia, dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Mohamed coordinated “Emerge in the West” festival with Multicultural Arts Victoria.

  • President; steering committee AASBA (African Australian Small Business Association).

  • Committee Member with Unity Cup 2014 (Strengthening Communities through sport)

  • Committee Member with Africa Day Melbourne 2014

  • Ambassador for peace with UPF

  • Honorary Member with the Victorian Libyan Community

  • Honorary Member with the Ethiopian Somali Community in Victoria

  • A steering committee member with Refugee Action Collective and Represents EAJP in the Refugee Action Network.


More profiles to be added