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Wahida Samim

Community Citizen winner part of New Colombo Plan

2 March 2017

Wahida Samim, winner of the Community Citizen of the Year Youth Award from the City of Stirling, will be on her way shortly to study overseas.

Wahida is one of around 100 Australian students chosen for this year's New Colombo Plan intake, giving her the opportunity to study in Hong Kong.

“I am very lucky to be a New Colombo Plan Scholar. It’s an awesome opportunity and I really look forward to learning and getting to know a different country and culture,” she said.

Wahida was presented with Stirling’s Community Citizen of the Year Youth (under 25 years) Award on Australia Day this year. The award recognises a young person who has delivered outstanding service to the City of Stirling community.

A leader within the Western Australian Hazara Afghan community and a youth leader with the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network WA, Wahida has made notable contributions to the community through both roles.

Thanks in part to her leadership as a volunteer event coordinator, the 2016 Catalyst Youth Summit in Perth was a success in providing opportunities for young Western Australians from diverse backgrounds to connect, develop skills and have a voice on the issues that matter to them.

“The more you become involved in the community, the more you realise where the gaps are and what the issues are,” Wahida said.

“Generally, throughout government, business and non-profit sectors, young people are not given a voice and we are often represented negatively or not at all, so I believe the onus is on us young people to make sure that our voices are heard and listened to.”

The Catalyst Youth Summit, supported by the Office of Multicultural Interests through the Community Grants Program, took more than a year to plan, including meetings and negotiations with participants and funding bodies.

“Our aim for participants was to learn, network and create a platform where they could voice the issues and solutions to the government and other key stakeholders.

“It was challenging at times but the outcome of the program was a very enriching experience. The participants were amazing and I am very lucky to have witnessed great leaders who have a big future ahead of them.”

Wahida believes her Community Citizen of the Year Award owes much to the work and encouragement of others.

“Although this award has my name on it and I’m honoured to receive these accolades, I do feel that the team of family and community workers who supported and mentored me at Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network and Salsaal Integration Association are the real recipients of this award,” she said.

“Girls in my conservative community are often not encouraged to get involved in community issues so I feel very lucky that I have amazing parents who have taught me the importance of getting involved and have encouraged me in all aspects of my life.”


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