YOUTH AMBASSADOR NETWORK (YAN)
Supported through MYAN Australia and our state and territory partners, YAN members are active advocates and actors working to influence the national agenda for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
The YAN are not representatives of all refugee and migrant young people in their state or territory, but provide a perspective of young refugee and migrant Australians to MYAN Australia. They also work on practical activities within their state or territory and serve as advocates, amplifying the voice of others, in a range of national and state/territory forums.
MEET OUR YAN MEMBERS
Khushal (he/him) is a second generation Indian Australian, living on Ngunnawal country and studying a Bachelor of Laws & Bachelor of International Relations at ANU. He is particularly passionate about amplifying youth voices and ensuring that they are heard and acknowledged by decision makers. Khushal works with a wide range of organisations that advocate on social justice issues including environmentalism, human rights, and multiculturalism. He has developed experience across a diversity of domains including in advocacy, capacity building and entrepreneurship and is currently a member of the Youth Advisory Group informing Amnesty International Australia.
Manzi – ACT
Manzi Bienvenu is passionate about the voices of multicultural youth. Manzi has graduated from his Certificate IV in Community Service and is now undertaking his Social Work degree. Manzi also comes with experience from Jamaica as a member of Youth National Integrity Action in Kingstone, and a sport trainer for migrant and refugee youth at Reed Sports Service Centre. With leadership knowledge and experience from MYAN’s FUSE Youth Summit, Manzi has developed his advocacy skills and connected with peers from across Australia. Helping young refugees and migrants has become Manzi’s favourite part of his career and as the ACT YAN representative, Manzi believes it is a good opportunity to represent young multicultural people, make positive change and raise the voices of young people to ensure they are heard within the community and on a national level.
Nayonika – NSW
Nayonika (she/they) is an Arts/Law student at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. As a migrant who falls into several intersections, she is passionate about raising awareness about overcoming systemic barriers, authentically representing our multicultural and diversity in an authentic manner and developing resources for culturally and linguistically diverse communities to understand how to find harmony between self-preservation and social growth. Nayonika has extensive experience in working on mental, social and sexual health and well-being campaigns, student and youth advocacy, policy consultations and strategic development and planning. Nayonika is someone who looks at the glass as half full and thinks about how you can share that glass with the community. She is always open to discussing opportunities to collaborate and meaningful ways to create a positive social impact.
Fatima - NSW
Fatima lives on the Gadigal land of the Eora nation. Fatima is a second generation half Burmese (Myanmar), half Pakistani Australian. Fatima has and will always advocate for diversity and helping people of colour feel the most comfortable and proud in their skin. She has always been interested in social justice through volunteering in multiple organisations and charities. Through this role Fatima would love to help multicultural people as best as she can in order to empower and encourage them.
Etabez – NT
Etabez Donato (she/her) age 23, is born in Ethiopia and migrated to Northern Territory Australia. Etabez is passionate about closing the gap (through women in leader and education). She is the Co-found of Charles Darwin University Women’s Collective for Innovation and Change (CDUWCIC) student group, which aims to empower women, creating networking opportunities between young women, CDU students, local government and the community, as well as offering skill development workshops to help students in job opportunities. She is also the founder of Birtukan projects which gathers support for local schools in her home rural area of Ethiopia.
Mimona – SA
Mimona was seven years old when she arrived in Australia in 2005. For a girl who grew up in a small hut in a remote village in Sudan, Australia’s beauty amazed her and the opportunities opening up at her feet made her feel invincible. She is a Health and Medical Science graduate from the University of Adelaide. She owns a speaking agency providing speakers of both culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. She works in SA pathology currently however, she is looking to secure a permanent role in the mines in health safety and environment.
Darcy – QLD
Darcy was born in Burundi and arrived in Australia in 2018. He currently lives on the Meeanjin land (Brisbane). he is a volunteer at Multicultural Australia for their flag leader youth advocacy program and holds the event coordinator position. he is also the representative of Queensland in the MYAN. he is passionate about working with the youth and supporting them in their communities and addressing the challenges we all face on a daily basis. he has been involved in community work through the years and always ready to help the youth particularly those from the migrants background. he is experienced in this area and would like to gain more experience in order to deliver the best service possible for those in need.
Khin Khin – QLD
Khin Khin (She/Her) lives in Cairns (Gimuy), Queensland. An intergenerational Arakanese-Australian from Myanmar (Burma). She is working in a casual role as a Teacher Aide at Trinity Bay State High School and permanent part time at Cairns Little Seafood Market. She also has her own driving school helping migrant learner drivers with affordable prices. She volunteers on most weekends, including for Cairns multi-cultural communities, Ironman and her own Arakanese community where she advocates for young people as she is eager to help others and is passionate about making changes. Exploration, pursuit and motivation are her framework for success. As mentioned already, she has experience working within her own community as a committee & community member inspiring the youth and adults of different generations in a variety of sectors. Helping others is extremely important to her, and treating all people with respect regardless of their cultural, traditions, background, status, colour and race accords with her values and beliefs and provides her with much satisfaction.
Alia – TAS
Alia (she/her) is a 1st generation Pakistani who lives in Nipaluna on the unceded land of Lutrawita. Honoured to be part of YAN, Alia has a deep belief in the power of youth voices in creating and catalysing systemic and social change. It is with the recognition that multicultural youth are often the bridge between two cultures that Alia hopes to ease their journey by highlighting their impact and value. As a person who attempts to bridge this gap herself, Alia intends to use her time in YAN to focus on importance of mental wellbeing, and its freeing power in the face of isolation and adversity. She aims to use her involvement in many different sectors of Tasmania’s multicultural community to inform her work at YAN – along with a love for learning and growing.
Ratu – TAS
Ratu is a fourth generation Malay Singaporean from Victoria and currently pursuing a career in the social work industry. As a young Muslim woman from CALD background , Ratu has always stand up against issues such as racism, inequality, discrimination and other unaddressed issues young people experience. She has worked collectively with a range of organisations as a volunteer to provide safer and equal access for people of CALD backgrounds. Ratu’s experience working with the Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania, and being a delegate for FUSE 2021 youth summit has provided her a platform to advocate for issues affecting young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Ratu is passionate about supporting young migrants and refugees, especially newcomers to access and navigate support services in Australia.
Being a Muslim girl wearing the hijab in an all Anglo-Australian school, she was seen as ‘not normal’ by some students and struggled to fit in. But by being proud about her culture and religion and sharing information to her peers, this created better understanding and a more inclusive space for other students. Despite the challenges, Ratu was recognised for her dedication to the school and community as a leader and received prestigious awards at the age of 16. Through her leadership experience in school and communities, Ratu aims to empower young migrants to take on opportunities and embrace and be proud of their diversity. Ratu believes that no matter how big or small a help we can provide to people, it matters and creates a positive change for the community.
Hashwina – VIC
Hashwina (Hush-wina) is a proud Tamil Woman and migrant to Australia. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Sustainability and is an environmental social scientist and researcher. She has worked with organizations such as CMY, Orygen, The Earthwatch Institute, Oxfam and Climate for Change to help create, facilitate and co-design, social-change based programs. She is also a Create Change Fellow at Democracy in Colour – Australia’s first racial and economic justice organisation led by people of colour. As a Youth Advocate, Hashwina is driven by her passion for systemic change and uses her lived experiences and knowledge to lead projects relating to climate justice, women’s safety , migrant’s rights and inclusion.
Hanienah – VIC
Hanienah (she/her) is of Malaysian heritage, and currently a Psychology student keen to share her interest in mental health and inclusive education. As a first-generation migrant, Hanienah is highly motivated about finding ways to make her community a better, more progressive, and more inclusive place. Through her advocacy, she aims to shed light on the unique dispositions of CALD individuals and its unaddressed mental health challenges on young people’s quality of life.
Over the years, her volunteering and work commitments see her actively engaged with various local and national organisations in advisory, facilitation, and co-design capacities. Hanienah wants to ensure that multicultural perspectives are “a core part of all discussions”, and is deeply passionate about the importance of collaborative work with communities that strive for representative and meaningful outcomes.
Sadeqa – WA
Sadeqa is a Muslim Afghan Australian female who grew up in Boorloo(Perth). Sadeqa also had the opportunity to spend a year and half in Gadigal (Sydney) land to develop within her professional career. With her recent relocation back to Boorloo, Sadeqa aims to shine light on specific challenges that young people, specially from multicultural backgrounds face. Sadeqa is also a full time occupational therapist who is passionate about helping individual across the lifespan reach their goals. Sadeqa has a passion for advocacy and believes every young person can be a vehicle for change.
Jorge – WA
Jorge (He/Him) lives in Western Australia on the Whadjuk Nyoongar people’s Land. Jorge has attained valuable experience in community development, leadership, and the multicultural sector through various roles. Jorge is passionate about empowering the next generation of change-makers through community capacity building. Jorge highlights the importance of CaLD participation in social, economic, and cultural life to unlock individuals’ potential.
LIFE IN AUSTRALIA: CELEBRATING YOUNG PEOPLE FROM REFUGEE AND MIGRANT BACKGROUNDS
MYAN’s short film series was launched at the MYAN conference in November 2017. The short films capture young people’s stories and experiences of settling in Australia. Produced in partnership with Dr David Corlett, acclaimed filmmaker and host of SBS’ Go Back To Where You Came From, the 9 films feature young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds talking about leaving their country, arriving in Australia, what helped them settle in Australia, belonging, identity and aspirations for the future. These films are part of MYAN’s resources supporting the National Youth Settlement Framework.
“YAN members share their views on Cultural Diversity Week and what it means to them”
Story sharing is a powerful tool to present the perspectives of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds living in Australia. Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network Australia ( MYAN ) has engaged members from the Youth Ambassador’s Network (YAN) to share what Cultural Diversity Week means to them via different mediums such as art, dance and conversation.
NSW Youth Ambassador, Maria ‘Domina’ Augustine, speaks to Ramya Prabhakaran – a dance choreographer – about how dance has formed a deep connection to her roots and culture. Ramya speaks about different dance forms, how they can showcase cultural aspects, and what cultural diversity means to her as a Tamil dance choreographer raised in Australia.
SA Youth Ambassador, Chanceline Kakule, interviews MYAN’s FUSE Youth Delegate, Celestina Rabi, about Cultural Diversity Week. Chanceline explains, “Every year on the 19th-27th of March, we as a nation recognise the significance that this week holds, for all people who come from the four corners of the world. Multiculturalism is a core part of the Australian identity and our way of life.
Mary Harm- MYAN’s Ambassador from Queensland, narrates Pacific Climate Warriors’ initiative to create a colouring book with images that could be conversation-starter for intergenerational discourse on matters that affect Pacific Islanders.