Community Service Providers




A passion to help others settle in Australia has become a career for Assefa Bekele, Multicultural Community Liaison Officer (MCLO) with the New South Wales Police.

Assefa arrived in Sydney in 1988 as a qualified engineer, after studying Mining and Metallurgical engineering in Greece. He also completed post graduate studies on Regional and Local Community Development.

From day one he has been very active in volunteering with migrant groups, especially African communities. Soon after arriving in Australia, Assefa started working on bringing together his own community. He initiated the Ethiopian Community Association of New South Wales, and finds it very rewarding to see it still continue to this day.

Originally from Ethiopia, Assefa felt he could understand the many challenges facing people arriving here to start a new life. Assefa wanted to learn more about policing and decided to help police as a volunteer in 1996.

In 2000 Assefa’s community work was recognised when he was selected to be an Olympic torch bearer during the Sydney Olympics. He worked as a volunteer and language expert for both Amharic and Greek during the Olympics. Assefa has also been a trained volunteer with the St Johns First Aid in NSW working at such events with the Sports Institute of NSW.

In his role as a MCLO with Blacktown police, Assefa is involved in some interesting projects and initiatives for example recently a project to bring church and community leaders together from the Pacific Islander and Sudanese communities. His work also involves other communities including the Phillipino, Indian and Afghani communities. The objective is to assist the migrant community members on a harmonious settlement and development.

Another positive project Assefa is involved with is the ‘Life Matters’ pilot project which gives training for young adults to find a deeper purpose and discover how to engage with the community in meaningful ways.

Assefa believes that to successfully settle in a new country you need to know and appreciate your own culture and on the same level learn and respect the culture of others as well.

Assefa has been showcased in various main stream media including the SBS TV's Behind the Front Door Broadcast Programs.
Beatrice Sesay is  the Chairperson of the Sierra Leone Women’s Wanword Association and have served the organization and Sierra Leone community in various capacities. 

Beatrice is a member of “The Australian National Committee on Refugee Women (ANCORW)”, “Auburn Small Community Organisation Network (ASCON)”, Auburn Employment Working Group and “African Women Group Inc (AWG)”.

Beatrice  is currently the president of Wan Word Sierra Leone Women organisation and currently working as the Employment Project Officer at Auburn Diversity Services Inc. (formerly known’s as the Auburn Migrant Resources Centre).  The project aim is to improve sustainable employment outcomes for humanitarian entrants in the Central Western Sydney SSD and Beatrice's role is to get humanitarian entrants’ “job ready” through Orientation to Australia and Integration - Inclusion and Participation services and into employment.

Tshibanda Gracia Ngoy, 20 years old, is a Congolese-born Australian who arrived under the Humanitarian Visas Program in July 2005 who strives to better the lives of people around her and in particular youth from refugee backgrounds.

She’s currently studying a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies, and Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Wollongong, majoring in International Media and Communications, and Human Resources Management.

Gracia completed a freelance journalism course at the age of 16 and has since had several articles published on social justice and youth related issues, and her first book on success aiming to empower young people.

She’s an active member of her community and has received numerous awards and recognitions including the 2008 and 2009 Australian Defence Force Long Tan leadership and Teamwork Award, 2010 NSW CRC Young Volunteer of the Year, 2010 Wollongong Young Citizen of the Year, 2011 Australia’s Young People’s Human Rights Award, and was named Woman of the Week by Hoopla in December 2011.

Gracia has worked a caseworker for refugee families, a radio co-host for a community station in Wollongong, a youth motivational speaker, and a member of the Illawarra Regional Advisory Council (IRAC), NSW Multicultural Youth Network (MYN), Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families (SCARF), and a Co-Administrative Director for the Voice of Hope International Ministries based in Uganda advocating for those who have been silenced by poverty and injustices.

 Rosemary Kariuki lobbied for countless African events and services, including the African Women's Dinner Dance (SMH link), the Celebration of African cultures, and generating employment and health awareness. 

Rosemary is also an Ethnic Community Liaison Officer with NSW police and worked with the Domestic Violence Team.

Ms Kariuki was the Women’s Representative on the NSW African Communities Council for four years, a Creators of Peace facilitator, a member of several steering committees, a member of African Women’s Group and an informal employment advisor for fellow Kenyans and Africans in Australia to name just a few.

Ms Karuiki campaigns against domestic violence, coordinates small women’s peace circles a program of Initiative of Change and she has also  coordinated visits to African detainees in Villawood.

Ms Karuiki received Edna Ryan Award from The Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL) in 2007 for working with African women in NSW. In 2008 she received the  Women of the West Award from UWS. She also received the community award from Universal Federation of Peace who made her the Peace Ambassador in 2009 and currently Ms Karuiki is a NSW Census Ambassador. In addition, she is one of the 2011 African Australian Woman of the Year Award Winner.






Dr Andre Kabamba is the leader of an intellectual movement on humanitarian issues on the Democratic Republic of Congo called Australian Conference Rally on Kongo (ACRoK Inc.)

 He also heads the Community & Business Audit Society Inc. (CBASI), a community based audit on disadvantaged African Australians, in Australia.

Andre was a professor of sociology at the University of Lubumbashi (DR Congo) for 17 years and head of department of sociology and anthropology at the same university.

 Andre immigrated to Australia in 1980s as a political refugee together with his whole family. In addition to his PhD (Sociology) awarded by UNAZA, Andre was compelled to prepare an Australian degree, which he completed in 1992 as a Master of Regional science (The University of Queensland).

He was able to secure research jobs at Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Here he contributed as co-author to a number of publications on urban and housing areas.

Andre has retired few years ago from his career as public servant in QLD Government for which he worked for more than 12 years as analyst, economist and statistician.

In respect to his intellectual movement leadership, Andre has published two main books, Humanitarian Crisis in the Congo, 2010 (in English and French) and The Congo, fifty years later, 2012 (in French).
Andre is the:
  • Co-author, Ageing and Housing, Ageing and Retirement Housing in Australia, 1997 (AHURI, QUT)
  • Co-author, Sun-Belt Migration Decisions, a Study of the Gold Coast, 1996 (BIMPR, Commonwealth of Australia)
  • Author, Queensland Population, 2003 (QLD Govt, OESR)


Malwal Mywin is a Sudanese male who arrived in Australia in from a refugee camp in Egypt in 2000. He is often called a “lost boy” because he grew up in Northern Sudan with no parents because of the war.

Malwal has been witness to many horrific crimes against humanity but has remained strong in his catholic faith because he believes that it has bought him serenity, friendship and a connection to his community and God. He says “It has taught me to forgive and not hate others and because of my experiences growing up in a war torn country, where I have been subjected to many who have experienced extreme torture and trauma I have learnt to use those experiences to the best use by helping others and using my faith in Christianity as a positive role model”

Malwal is a practising Catholic and an active member at the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Toowoomba. His passion is working with young people and their families in the Sudanese Community where the community often uses his professional skills as a youth and development worker to engage in the community to support and advocate those in need. He converses with a number of different tribes who can be in conflict and because of his ability to put aside his own beliefs and values, he is able to act in a way that is beneficial to those who need assistance. He is always dedicated to helping those in the community who are disadvantaged and disenfranchised by supporting them in a practical and real way. 

Malwal is currently employed with Mission Australia as the NAYSS (Newly arrived Youth Support Service) as the NAYSS Youth, Family and Community Development Worker. In this role he is required to work with young people and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and assists them to reconnect them with their families, community, employment and training. Malwal’s core duties in this role are to assess and provide intensive case management through a variety of practical and therapeutic interventions around a strength based framework.

He is an active participant and contributor in identifying key cultural and linguistic information and skills needed to provide effective education programs to culturally and linguistically diverse group of young people and their families. 

Malwal has also been employed as sectional interpreter with Centrelink. This role requires assisting customers with varying complexity and differing issues by interpreting and making the customer feel at ease. He is able to speak fluent Dinka, Sudanese Arabic, and English. 

Another innovative program Malwal has facilitated was called “African Lunches”. The purpose of this program was to find out from a young person’s perspective how services in Toowoomba would be able to help them. Some of the issues discussed for newly arrived young people and their families was around domestic violence, family issues and how this affected the young person, settlement issues, how to understand and immerse into a new culture, financial awareness and how collaborating with external agencies in the region to deliver a seamless and holistic service. 

Complimenting his role as a Youth and Community Development Worker with Mission Australia was to work as a bi – cultural worker with African, Middle Eastern and other migrant communities with the Men and Relationship program with Lifeline Community Care in Toowoomba. In this position Malwal conducted a needs analysis in the migrant men’s community and identified issues that needed to be addressed. He then worked with Migrant men to assist them to adapt to cultural related difficulties.

Malwal also co-ordinated a Cultural Arts Program in Toowoomba. This program was designed to develop cultural activities for the Sudanese community with an aim for the community to retain their culture through drum making, costume and dance workshops and performances.
He remains an active participant and contributor in a steering committee for Department of Communities to identify cultural and linguistic information and skills needed to provide effective education programs to culturally and linguistically diverse groups and young people and adults.
More recently he translated a work shop for Toowoomba African families to explore ways for them to maintain strong families and work roles in Australia. The purpose of the program was to inform the community on how Australian law related to family life and work and introducing families to Toowoomba services that are able to assist in this transition. 

Malwal was recently formally acknowledged for the work he undertakes in our community by receiving the Award for Cross Cultural Community Advice at the ACAG Participation Award 2008-2011. Kerry Shine (MP) wrote in a congratulation letter to Malwal that his “efforts have contributed to improving cultural competence within front line agencies in Toowoomba which have greatly assisted the growing refugee and migrant communities settle in Toowoomba”. Malwal’s positive contribution has enabled a wide range of organisations to design and deliver early intervention workshops for the region’s newest CALD settlers.

Robert Mukombozi
  • Community Development Officer-Access Community Services Limited
  • President-Queensland African Communities Council-Logan Branch Inc
  • Secretary-Global United Ethnics Inc.
  • Secretary-Rwandan association of Queensland Inc.

African-Australian investigative journalist, Robert Mukombozi, a Rwandan, has used his profound social skills to improve lives of African refugees across Australia.

As President of Queensland African Communities Council in Queensland Logan district, he has created many initiatives that have transformed lives of African migrants and refugees.

Among these initiatives include:

  • establishing famous drumming project, which has received wide media coverage. This project has helped to restore peace and harmony between Africans and islander.  
  • liaising with social service providers and job network providers to find relevant training and jobs for African refugees.
  • liaising with the police services, centrelink, courts, and emergency services among others to assist families that have had trouble with government services.
  • creating links for Africans who want to find places/enrolment into Universities across Queensland.
  • helping African international students with research, linking them to relevant communities, departments, NGOs and agencies.

Through The African Voice magazine, he is creating awareness about key settlement issues affecting African communities in Queensland as well as educating communities and individuals on policies and how they can contribute for their welfare. This has greatly empowered African communities/individuals in influencing policies in Australia.

He has used his influence in the media to promote positive values of Africans in Australia. Apart from organising African festivals to celebrate positive values of African cultures and traditions, Mr Mukombozi organises fundraising dinners to support humanitarian activities across Africa, Christchurch (NZ), Japan, Asia and the middle east disaster victims.  

As a result, he has been the commended nominee for the University of Queensland’s 2011 communication for social change Award.  He was also the 2010 UNESCO Press freedom Ambassador.       


David Deng Amol
is a 42 year old South Sudanese Australian who fled his then country Sudan due to civil war and arrived in Australia in 2000 on Humanitarian Visa with his young family. He called Queensland home for the last 12 years where he currently works for Lifeline Darling Downs & South West Queensland Ltd as Employment Case Worker for African Communities Inclusion Project – ACIP.

 David is a former teacher and has background in other fields such as Business and Law; he is a candidate for Master of Public Relations at the University of Southern Queensland for 2012. David is the current President of the Sudanese Community Association of Darling Downs Inc. – Australia; he has been in that position for more than three years now. In this position, David is able to provide timely advice to government and non-government policy forums on employment and social inclusion matters; he is a great advocate for former African refugees and migrants as well as other CALD communities in the region.

Joelle Kabamba, was amongst the first of African family migrating in Australia Brisbane in the 1980’s, as well as the first of High School chaplains working in High School Ministry.

Joelle’s first-hand experience, specifically as a high school chaplain, was what moved her to pen her first book, The Chaplaincy Phenomena (Spencer Publishing). Documenting both the triumphant and laborious journey of this line of work, the book is the first of its kind in this nation and New Zealand

Joëlle a gifted public and motivational speaker is also a member of the Queensland African Communities Council, with a passion for justice and human rights has seen her volunteer for numerous humanitarian projects throughout Brisbane, and international borders including Africa and Asia.

Joelle is a young lady of many talents who has worked with Australian young people in a number of sectors and currently working in refugee settlement with unaccompanied refugee minors in Brisbane. Joelle holds a bachelor of Social Science in Theology and currently completing her Master of International and Community Development with Deakin University. She is designed a grass root pilot project toward the horrendous plight against Congolese sexually abused women in order to give back to her nation of birth and penning a new book project.

Chitura has been an influential member of the Central Queensland African Association. Well before the association was formed, Lawrence worked hard to make sure Africans in Central Queensland came together and integrate in the community.

On a number of occasion Lawrence held BBQ at his house, using his own resources, for people to just come and meet and get to know each other. For people traveling to the town he was staying then, if they fail to get hotel accommodation, Lawrence always invited them to put up at his place.

Lawrence was also the brains behind the formation of CQAfrican Association. He keeps the community up to date with whats happening, through regular communication. A day hardly passes by without getting a mail from him updating the community. On a number of occasion, Lawrence had to rally the community behind bereaving families, raising funds to facilitate repatriation of the deceased member back to Africa.

Lawrence also helps members keep abreast with what's happening back in Africa and at the same time encouraging members of the community to embrace the Australian way of life.

Obviously behind every successful man there is a strong wife. Lawrence's wife, Martha Chitura is always by his side, hosting numerous parties at their place, allowing Lawrence to travel throughout CQ visiting African families in need and also allowing him to spend so much time working as a committee member of the CQAfrican association. Together they have organised a number of Christmas parties for the community, funding some of them and hosting some at their place.


David Malinda was the President of the African Community Organisation of South Australia and worked as a Senior Research Scientist and Soils Research Scientist at the South Australian Research and Development Institute.

David also worked for the South Australian Department of Agriculture as Soils Research Scientist and Agricultural Research Engineer.

David has published 3 books, 4 book chapters, 6 Scientific papers, 10 reports, 11 international conference papers (in 7 countries), 20 national conference papers, 1 National Landcare Award (Group share), 21 media releases and interviews and has contributed to 38 Country and metropolitan Field Days, and Demonstrations.

From 1982-1984, David worked for the  Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture as a  Senior Agricultural Engineer, helping to plan, implement and monitor all technical and administrative matters related to the establishment and smooth running of Agricultural Engineering/Mechanisation Extension Services and among others.

In Australia, among the community projects accomplished by David include:

·   Coordinating Artists workshops at schools for 13 years in a row, covering about 35,000 students.

·   Planting the first trees in Australia at dawn on January 1st, 2000 at the Cities of West Torrens and Port Adelaide Enfield to mark lasting friendship between Africa and Australia, and marking our commitment to the environment.

·   Establishing the African computer centre at the Kilburn Community Centre in South Australia for students and family members.

·   Initiating and organising forums both for youth and for the general community, particularly for the community living in Port Adelaide Enfield Council, West Torrens and Charles Sturt councils’ areas of South Australia.

In recognition of David’s remarkable achievements, he has won the following Awards:

  • Australian of the Year Award - 2008
  • Governor’s Award -2008
  • Recommended for Order of Australia
  • Australia Day Ambassador – ongoing

As an Australia Day Ambassador, David has accomplished the following assignments and among others:

·     officiating the Tour Down Under at Tilden Bend;

·     officiating the Australia of the Year awarding ceremony at the Coorong County Council at Meningi in South Australia;and

·     officiating the Citizen of the Year Awards for 2012 at Cleve District Council in Eye Peninsular on Australia Day 26th January 2012.


Akoi Manyiel Guong
is one of the few "lost boys" from Sudan settled in South Australia.
He has been working since 2006 for the Migrant Resource as a Case Manager supporting new arrived refugees to successfully resettle into th
eir new country.

Mr Guong is the Sudanese Youth Leader in South Australia and has been instrumental in helping Young Sudanese people  in their settlement since 2004.  In 2011 he was awarded a Governor’s Award in recognition of his dedication and contribution to Sudanese young people in settling into South Australia.

Recently Mr Guong has founded a charity organisation to support the development of health and educational facilities in South Sudan.

Mr Guong is an author of a new book: ‘Realising the Dream - Journey of a lost Boy’, telling the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan of which he was one.  The book was officially launched on 20th June (World Refugee Day) by Senator The Hon Kate Lundy, Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs; Senator for the ACT at the SA Refugee Week Launch at the Hawke Centre, University of SA.


As a 36 year old Remigio Mkoka left Tanzania arriving in Australia 19th Feb 1981. With 1 small bag of possessions, no allowances but possessing a scholarship to study, the journey in this country began.He was one of the first Africans to migrate to Adelaide.
  • Became an Australian Citizen in 1985
  • Bachelor of Arts in Library Studies 1986
  • Diploma in Freelance Journalism 1991
  • Graduate Diploma of Management
  • Masters of Business Administration1999
  • Member Of ALP 1994 (Branch President)
  • Union Delegate, Australian Services Union Qld Services Branch
  • Associate Fellow of Australian Institute of Management 2003

Served the community:

  • Reference Librarian (going above and beyond his duties,becoming known as the African man who was very helpful and always with a big smile.)
  • Junior and Senior Soccer Coach
  • Member of Australian Fellowship of Faith Churches and Ministers International 2006 (along with other positions within the church.)

In 2006 after visiting Tanzania and Malawi Remigio was planning to go back to help with caring for orphans in both countries. Sadly within 6 months of returning to Australia he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia and lost the battle within 8 months of been diagnosed. 

Highly respected in the Community Remigio's funeral was attended by the  Federal Member of Parliament, State Member of Parliament
and the Local Mayor.

Dr Joseph Masika, the Chairperson of the African Community Council of South Australia Inc (ACCSA), is very proactive in the African community.

 He is Tanzanian but he is always ready to assist any Africans in any way that he can. He is an inspirational person who works tirelessly for the good of others.

The growth of ACCSA is clearly evident in the results of the Annual African Festival.

Dr Masika is a Board Member of Health Consumers Alliance, Associate Board Member of Migrant Resource Centre of SA, Vice President, African Communities Council of Australia, Board member of Multicultural Aged Care Inc.

Dr Masika is also a Member of the National Implementation Committee of Mental Health Stigma Reduction in CALD, Chairperson of SA African Network to End Silent on Domestic Violence, State Coordinator, Mental Health Stigma Reduction Project in South Australia, Convener of SA Expert Trainers Stigma Reduction Project, Member of Federation of Ethnic Communities Council Policy Advisory Committee for New and Emerging communities in Australia.

Dr Masika is one of the five people sits on Multicultural Think Tank Advisory Committee of National Prescribing Services to provide strategic advice for safe use of medicines to health professionals and Culturally And Linguistically Diversity communities in Australia.

Dr Masika is the 2011 African Australian Man of the Year Award Winner and his  interest is to
ensure inclusive policies and services for new and emerging communities

In picture - SA Premier and Dr Masika

Mabok Marial is the President of the Sudanese Community, one of the largest African communities in South Australia.

Mabok has implemented numerous programs to empower his community. Mabok is one of the founding member and vice chair person of the African Community council of South Australia.


Mr. George Fomba is a Case Manager at the Migrant Resource Centre of South Australia and the Vice Chairperson of the Sport and Recreation committee of the African Community Council of South Australia.

George is a member of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission (SAMEAC), Youth Advisory Committee of South Australia and an Ambassador for the South Australian White Ribbon.

George, as the President of the Liberian  Community in South Australia, developed youth projects where young people meet to identify and discuss their issues and suggest recommendations.

He was able to source funds to target juvenile laws, teenage pregnancy, promoting and maintaining talents, sports, camps etc. He initiated the celebration of an “African Child Day” in South Australia, an initiative to bring African young people together to celebrate their cultures, establish acquaintances, acknowledge their talents and have fun.

In 2010, George received the Governor’s Multicultural awards for community sector.

Bosco Opi is a human rights and refugee advocate and worked in this sector for over 8 years, both in Australia and overseas. He has a legal background and contributed to refugee and settlement policy in South Australia. He is currently the convener of the Multicultural Youth Link SA, a peak youth body which advises the Minister for Youth on the needs of refuge youth. Bosco has undertaken extensive research and consultations on juvenile issues and in 2009, published a research finding entitled ‘When do I stop being a refugee.’

Bosco gave presentations in a number of forums and consultation across Australia on issues relating to refugee and migrants. In 2009 and 2010, he was keynote speaker at the United Nations Youth Conference in South Australia. In 2009, he participated in the African Australian human rights consultation auspice by the Australian Human Rights Commission and contributed to the implementation of its recommendation. In 2011, Bosco gave a presentation to magistrates at the National Judicial College of Australia, to create an understanding and awareness of the legal issues facing refugees and migrants in Australia.
Bosco currently works for the Migrant Resource Centre SA (MRCSA) and contributed to strategic policy and program development and managed a number of projects aimed at building the capacity of the refugee communities.

He participated in a number of boards and committees including the Multicultural Police Advisory Committee, Youth Advisory Council of South Australia, Refugee and Humanitarian Advisory Group, Adelaide City Council Reference Group and the Nationwide Reconnect Forum.

In academia, Bosco attended Flinders University and has a BA (2006), Masters degree in Public Policy/Management (2008) and another Masters’ degree in International Law (2009) majoring in International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law.

In 2009, Bosco worked in the office of the UNHCR, Legal/Protection Unit in Canberra. He was engaged in legal analysis, policy and research work which encompassed many aspects of the legal protection of refugees, asylum seekers and others of concern to the UN with human rights, protection, humanitarian and integration needs.

He made a significant contribution to UNHCR's submission paper to the Migration Parliamentary Committee on the 2009 Draft Complementary Protection Bill.
Bosco is a member of the International Law Association – Australia Branch and a member of the Amnesty International - Australia.

Khadija Gbla works part time at Thebarton Senior College teaching English to young adults. In 2005, Khadija became a member of the Migrant Resource Centre’s Reference Group which organises camps, conferences and activities to assist the transition of newly-arrived refugees into the community.

She actively organises youth camps where she assists with facilitation of workshops that aim to raise awareness of youth issues such as identity, health, leadership and youth participation. The Reference Group consists of youth leaders who represent diverse background of South Australia’s community and Khadija is the youth leader for the Sierra Leone community.

Khadija is also a volunteer at the Migrant Resource Centre Young Women’s Group where she participates in monthly discussion regarding women’s issues and assists the Migrant Centre with attaining information about the issues and needs of young African women settling in the community.

Additionally, Khadija is a volunteer at Multicultural Youth South Australia Inc (MYSA) and has been recruited as a multicultural youth researcher to participate in MYSA’s action research project on newly arrived young people and public space.

In 2010, Khadija represented Australia at the Harvard National Model United Nations. This role saw Khadija travelling the United States and participating in international negotiations and debates with other delegates from around the world to an audience of distinguished speakers and members of the United Nations.

Khadija has been recognised with numerous awards in community services, one of which includes the 2009 Premier’s Channel Nine Young Achiever of the Year award.Khadija is currently the Premiers/Channel Nine Young Achiever of the year (2009),
Channel Nine Young Achiever’s RAA Driving Force Leadership Award (2009) a recipient of the Pride of Australia Young Leader Medal and 2009 South Australia’s Women’s Honour Roll outstanding nominee and award recipient, Youth Award for the city of Charles Sturt and Multicultural Youth SA, Australian Electoral Commission Ambassador and finally Khadija is the Australian nominee for the Mary Robinson Young Activist Award. Khadija is the 2011
Young African Australian of the Year Award winner.


Brad and Alison are the Lead Pastors at Influencers (Paradise) Community Church. As a couple they've dedicated their lives to serving the local church and have more than 15 years full-time ministry experience.  They are passionate about living life to the full and seeing others do the same.

They have been part of the team at Paradise since January 2002 and for a period of three years moved back to their hometown of Perth to pioneer what is now our Perth campus.  Starting out with an initial team of just 15 people they established a thriving church and raised up an exceptional leadership team in the Perth CBD. They have since returned to Adelaide in their current role as our Lead Pastors.

Brad is an engaging preacher with an ability to deliver revelational teaching from God's word and apply it to every-day life, whilst maintaining a dynamic and prophetic ministry style.  He has a passion for leadership and enjoys equipping and releasing people into their God given potential.

Alison works closely alongside Brad and is committed to building God's House and seeing people's potential unlocked. Having come from a corporate management background, Alison has a love for developing and training leaders. She is a natural communicator with a warm, transparent and inspirational preaching style.

Brad and Alison reside in Adelaide with their two young and very active children, Tori and Wade.




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.


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.

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

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 chair person 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.


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.


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.

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.

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.



 Ahmed Dini

VIC Australia's Local Hero 2012

Despite enduring the challenges of living in a refugee camp as a young boy, Ahmed Dini, still only 24, has become a leader in Australia’s Somali community.

He has galvanised Somali migrants through events and initiatives that provide significant support to Somali families and has become a strong voice and influential advocate for his community.

Ahmed was ten years old when he arrived in Australia and since finishing school has spearheaded the creation of the Australian Somali Football Association (ASFA) to promote sport, mentor under-privileged young people and to create a more cohesive Somali community.

Through his vision, the Australian Somali football championships have become the largest sporting event ever undertaken by the Somali/Horn of Africa community in Australia, with more than 4,500 people attending.

As event manager, Ahmed is inspirational, leading the 10-person committee, 21 sponsor partners, 80 volunteers, 16 coaches and managers and 180 players.

The success of the event prompted the Football Federation Victoria to incorporate the championships into its ‘United through Football’ program. Ahmed is also a Project Ambassador for the Sustainable Employment and Economic Development (SEED) program that assists
young people with job placements in the City of Moonee Valley.

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 for the newly arrived communities and 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.  

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 .



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 emigrant 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


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.



A former Vice President/Project Manager Ethiopian Community Association in Victoria.   Daniel is currently ARADA Ethiopian Cultural Centre, Founder and President and ARADA Ethiopian Radio, Founder and Producer.

The Ethiopian Community association in Victoria is one of the strongest, fastest and vibrant developing community organisations in Victoria. Established in 1986, it currently serves over 5000 members from wide range of cultures and languages. As public relation officer Daniel has achieved and participated in various role including-                                                                                       

·        Promotional and Marketing Strategies

   Contributed to community development and cross cultural association

·        Planned, developed, managed and evaluated projects

·        Sustained and integrated Ethiopian culture with Australian culture

·        Demonstrated success in meeting high returns for the community

·        Maintained and updated client database

·        Producing and Presenting on 3CR-855AM-Amharic Program since 2003-Current

·        Producing and Presenting on 3ZZZ-92.3FM-Amharic Program since 2011-Current

·        An Art Envoy for Footscray Community Arts Centre since 2006-Current

·        Establishing ARADA Ethiopian Cultural Centre and helping the community

·        Working in Youth Projects with other Community groups-Sudan, Somalia

·        Working and Participating in programs with Victoria Police-Multicultural Unit

·        Currently an active member of Victorian African Health Advocacy Network


Further Daniel held a position of Settlement Officer at AMES.  AMES contracted to deliver refugee resettlement services. In his role Daniel promote a professional and dynamic disposition with new arrived refugees, Maintain and provide a high level of professional standards, displayed good organisational skills with the ability to manage multiple projects within required time frames and deadlines including customer relationship management. Daniel also participated as event organiser with Big West Festival, the leading community-based, contemporary arts festival in Melbourne West, has spectacular events ranging from free outdoor concerts through to theatre, music, children’s days, literature and visual arts. He actively engaged with community as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Festival.

Daniel has a fantastic Ethiopian radio program in Amharic on 3CR and is an administrator with the Big West Festival 


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.