NRAAG's Steering Committee
NRAAG is driven and led by its steering committee members. These members represent refugee communities' diverse membership, both regionally and a diverse cohort including people seeking asylum, members of the LGBTIQ community and others from across Australia.
NRAAG's Steering Committee members were chosen through an open expression of interest applications by an independent judging panel comprising of refugee community members.
NRAAG's Steering Committee operates on voluntary basis for a period of 12 months.
Shabnam is an experienced and driven community-minded professional excited by fostering and facilitating growth and challenging the status quo to influence change. She was fifteen when her family arrived in Australia as Afghan refugees. Since then Shabnam has eagerly worked towards shifting the refugee narrative by highlighting, and drawing from, community strengths and expertise in creating solutions for the complex challenges arising from forced migration and settlement. She co-founded Noor Foundation, a youth-led organisation to support newly-arrived individuals and families in Australia and Project ReConnect, a global initiative connecting refugees in transition with locals from their host communities to promote empathy and social cohesion. With experience across Australia, India and Europe, Shabnam is passionate about leadership and capacity building frameworks, with a focus on culture and diversity, within the not-for-profit, public service and education sectors. Currently, she is a project officer at the Centre for Multicultural Youth working to eliminate barriers faced by refugee and migrant young people and serves on multiple government and community advisory boards. She has previously represented Australia at the UN and several other international summits presenting on key social policy issues and in her spare time, Shabnam enjoys breaking a sweat at the dojo – she is a national and international champion with a black belt in Karate.
Joseph is the Community Inclusion Manager at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. His role is leading several community engagement projects and strengthening the advocacy voice in refugee and asylum seekers space. He enjoys operating in multifunctional capacities to serve and empower vulnerable communities particularly the disadvantaged ones. He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied management. He has advance knowledge in managing projects and teams by accomplishing the best results in the shortest possible time with as little friction as possible.
Joseph has a robust passion to serve the humanitarian sector in particular the ones linked to the situations resulted from conflicts. He is a creative problem-solver who brings quality skills to make the work gets done, a leader that thrive to create entrepreneurial leadership styles among his colleagues.
Joseph has more than 10 years in non-for-profit sector. He has presented Australia at the United Nations in Geneva since 2013 to advocate for the global refugee. He is recognized in the newly emerged communities and well known in the multicultural community sector. He has received recognition awards for his work and vocal voice in defending for vulnerable communities.
Shukufa Tahiri is currently a Policy Officer with the Refugee Council of Australia. Her work involves policy analysis, research and advocacy on issues affecting people seeking asylum and refugees. Her interest is centered around combining lived and work experience from refugee and diaspora communities. She brings co-design and community-led mindset to all her work. She is currently an Advisory Committee member of UNSW Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. She is one of the executive directors of Akademos Society that helps with the education of girls, youth and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She was recently chosen by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) as one of the two Australian civil society representative to attend the month long UN Human Rights Council session 40 in Geneva. Amnesty International Australia recognised her as one of the 15 women championing human rights in Australia in 2017. The Australian Financial Review has also recently named her as one of 2018’s 100 women of influence in Australia.
Mireille Kayeye hails from Burundi and has more than eight years’ experience using media and communications for social change. Mimi is currently working at the Jesuit Social Services where she implements the African Australian Inclusion Program (AAIP), a joint initiative with National Australia Bank (NAB) in Victoria and New South Wales. The AAIP provides supported work experience at NAB and is a pathway to ongoing employment in the Australian business sector.
Mimi is a board member of One Girl, an organisation that is providing access to quality education in Uganda and Sierra Leone. She is a member of the Multicultural Advisory Committee of the City of Port Phillip.
Mimi holds a Master of Advanced Studies (International Development and Gender) from the Australian National University, where she researched the trafficking of African women for forced labour in Australia.
Raziq is a former refugee from Afghanistan who has recently graduated with a bachelor of Law and Justice (Honours) from Queensland University of Technology. Raziq currently works as the Judge's Associate at the District Court of QLD. He sits on the Board of Queensland Program of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT). Raziq has volunteered with numerous organisations within the refugee sector. He was the president of Youth Voice Committee an initiative of QPASTT and run by young people aged 12-25 years from diverse backgrounds who are keen to explore ideas and educate their peers and the broader community on social justice issues, social policy and government processes impacting on young people. Raziq intends to practice law and continue his work within the non-profit sector and helping the most marginalised and vulnerable people.
I am passionate former refugee and an active community member with the ability to motivate and inspire individuals in identifying their potential to continue and share their passion to serve others. Through my work as case manager in the past 11 years working specifically with refugees and asylum seekers communities I have been able to promote significant, positive change in communities and individuals through advocacy, empowered by compassion.
I take pride in engaging in a civically based approached to community building as I committed to a life-long service based on personal and professional experiences. I was born overseas in Iraq and arrived in Australia as a refugee (special entrants), I have grown to be familiar with a striving through strife mindset based on a strong foundation built on educational values. My work experience have inspired me to become a voice to the voiceless. As many refugees I had an interrupted studies and determined to complete my qualifications.
In addition to my work I also volunteer my spare time providing mentoring support for learner drivers to gain their required 120 hours driving experience and Accessing supervised car with the help of volunteer mentors with Hume Whittlesea LLEN.
Shankar Kasynathan’s earliest memories are of his family being resettled by a generous neighbourhood after finding refuge in Australia. Over the last 15 years he has been dedicated to building more inclusive and welcoming neighbourhoods, schools and workplaces. Today, he is the driving force behind the “My New Neighbour” campaign, calling for a generous refugee community sponsorship program in Australia. He has worked as a sessional academic at Deakin, Monash and Charles Darwin universities, and has degrees in Economics, Public Policy and is currently completing post-graduate studies in Education. He has worked on community engagement & advocacy initiatives for Oxfam, Transparency International, the National Heart Foundation and Amnesty International.
Danijel Malbasa was a goat herder in his native Yugoslavia before his family fled war. He survived two civil wars and was raised in a refugee camp before his family were resettled in Australia in 1999. Now he’s an industrial relations lawyer in Melbourne who volunteers his time and legal skills to help asylum seekers and refugees in his spare time. Danijel has written extensively on the refugee experience. He advocates for refugee-led form of advocacy as the best way to shift the narrative and shape public opinion.
Dr Melika Yassin Sheikh
Dr Melika Yassin Sheikh-Eldin, Manager Settlement Partnerships, AMES. Melika is a woman of conviction who has built bridges and roadways for new arrived refugees (women) so they are empowered within their community. Dr Melika Yassin Sheik-Eldin migrated from Eritrea to Australia in 1992. She is Manager of Settlement Partnerships with AMES (Adult Multicultural Education Services) in Victoria. She is responsible for strategic community relations and capacity building partnerships with refugee communities and sector organizations for AMES, and is a board member of the Refugee Council of Australia.
Dr Melika oversees the internationally recognized Community Guides Network - a best practice program using members of a culturally and linguistic diverse community as integration guides for newly arrived refugees from the same background. She has represented AMES and Australia at UNHCR Conferences in Geneva from 2007 to 2011 and was part of the 2011 UNHCR Women's Dialogue in Jordan.
Melika holds a PhD in marine biology from Deakin University.
Thuy-Vi Le currently works as Manager of Homelessness for the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, one of many programs of the NSW Government that seeks to support vulnerable people and mitigate harm.
Thuy-Vi and her family arrived in Australia as Refugees in the late 1970’s as a result of the Vietnam War. Inspired by her mother’s courage and experience of the refugee journey, she participated as an overseas volunteer in a refugee camp in the Philippines for over two years, supporting unaccompanied minors from Vietnam. Upon her return to Australia, she continued working with traumatised and disenfranchised Youth in Cabramatta for a number of different NGO’s in a range of roles including project work and outreach worker in drug and alcohol, and health.
Thuy-Vi continued to work with survivors of forced migration and marginalised communities for various NGO’s including the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Trauma and Torture Survivors (STARTTS) for more than 20 years before transitioning into a state government role.Her professional training is in Social Sciences, Education and in International Development. She currently balances her work with her love of food and all things furry and four legged of the canine persuasion.
A skilled professional with leadership experience and expertise in the refugee and humanitarian aid sector in Australia and overseas with over 16 years of employment history.
Emeka Cyprian Onwubi
Emeka lives in Adelaide and is in his penultimate year of Law at the University of Adelaide and shares a passion in advocacy on behalf of the people seeking for Asylum and Refugees.
Sayed Rahmatullah Hussainizada
Sayed is a very committed individual and the face of the Afghan community in his region. His immense involvements in the community is complimented with my keen interest for human rights and social justice. He is passionate about bringing change to the social, and political dynamics of his surroundings and the society he lives in by starting at the grassroots and moving up. He is a profound public speaker and a genuine friendly young man. He currently sits on the board of many youth-led organisations, including the peak body for multicultural youth and is a travel-with-a-purpose enthusiast. Sayed is a practicing solicitor and journalist and currently works in the Australian Public Service in Canberra.