1. Who is Fatima Tlaa?

I’m Fatima, 26 and living in Adelaide. I have a bi-cultural background – my mother is from the Philippines and my father is from Iraq. I’ve got three siblings as well and I currently studying Information Technology with a focus on networking and cyber security.

2. What sparks a fire in you, and why?

Often women in my culture are expected to be married at a young age. These expectations are often unfair and need to be challenged. This leads to women in my community not pursuing the careers they want. I want them to break free from this cycle, make a name for themselves and not be a shadow behind a man.

3. What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?

I would say instilling confidence to my friend from Bhutan who was very shy and through our friendship she really grew in her confidence and has gone to achieve many great things. I think any opportunities where I can encourage and inspire someone to come out of their shell is such a rewarding feeling.

4. Who is your hero and why?

My father is my hero. He came to the country as a refugee and sacrificed so much for us to be where we are today.

5. What is your most treasured possession?

I treasure my parents the most but in terms of possessions, I’d have to say my phone!

6. Why did you apply to be the MYAN YAN representative for SA?

After attending the last FUSE event (biannual national multicultural youth summit) held by MYAN I really wanted to play a similar role to the other young facilitators. This event inspired me to try continue the work of previous YANs’ and follow in their footsteps.

7. What skills and talents are you bringing to the YAN 2020?

I’m a very confident person and I want to instill confidence in other young people as well through the events and programs at MYAN.

I also want to bring my facilitation skills and public speaking skills gained through my previous role as a UN Youth Facilitator and my roles in the AMRC’s (Australian Migrant Resource Centre) Youth Leadership program as a YAN representative as well.

8. What are you hoping to achieve in 2021 as YAN’s SA representative?

It is not often that organisations get young people from different states to work with each other so I’m looking forward to working with the YAN to deliver national youth events such as FUSE. I also want to share the issues that need to be heard in the “mainstream” society and work on actions to resolving them.

9. What advice do you have for young people wanting to make a difference in the world?

Don’t be afraid to speak up. It takes courage sometimes to be the one who says something that is out of the norm or mainstream but in doing so you can give courage to others to do the same.

10. How can young people get involved in the work you do?

I would encourage more of our youth or people in the community to volunteer. Volunteering is something I have been passionate about since I was young. It is a very rewarding act that makes you feel fulfilled and have a sense of purpose. Moreover, this will help you gain skills and experience that will build confidence and help you network which is important for your future.


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