Mariam Moeladawilah, 8, an Year 4 student at Al Siraat College in Melbourne has won the “Young Citizen of the Year” award from the City of Whittlesea for her dedication to charity work. 

She was nominated for her charity work towards kids fighting cancer, riding her bike for the Great Cycle Challenge to be sponsored (all donations going to the Children’s Medical Research Center, Sydney), her interfaith engagement (radio interview with J-Air, a Jewish radio station), her help and support in collecting donations for Mercy Wings towards refugees.

Mariam undertook a bike ride, together with her mum Tanya Kubitza, riding 1,061km late last year, to help raise funds for children with cancer.

Mariam was presented with the award from TV and radio icon John Blackman at the City of Whittlesea Australia Day celebrations held on Tuesday 26 January 2016 where Mayor Cr Stevan Kozmevski formally announced and congratulated the successful recipients of the City of Whittlesea Australia Day Awards as follows:

Citizen of the Year – Bruce Batten and Joy Chatfield

Young Citizen of the Year – Mariam Moeladawilah

Senior Citizen of the Year – Ken and Lillian McClelland

Access and Inclusion Citizen of the Year – Natasha Ngarua

“Congratulations to all recipients, all of whom have given so much of themselves to help others,” said Cr Kozmevski. “The Australia Day Awards are an opportunity for Council and the local community to acknowledge and thank you for your selfless and generous contributions.”

At the award ceremony, Cr Kozmevski thanked all 25 nominees for the Australia Day Awards for their positive contributions.

“Volunteers are a precious part of every community. It is that spirit of volunteerism and selflessness that makes Australia the wonderful country that it is. All nominees have volunteered their time and efforts to assist the most vulnerable members of our community for little or no recognition.” He said.

Al Siraat College principal Mr Andrew Houghton and Year 3-4 Coordinator Ms Noori Ahmad were both nominated for the “Citizen of the Year” award as well.

Mariam belongs to a multicultural Australian family residing in Wollert, a northern suburb of Melbourne.

Her mother Tanya Kubitza was born in Germany and converted to Islam 15 years ago. She completed an Honours Degree in Business Administration and migrated to Australia in 2006. She has been working at Al Siraat College since 2010 where her current role is the College’s Registrar and Marketing Manager.

Mariam with other award winners and the Mayor of city of Whittlesea, Cr Kozmevski (centre).

Mariam with other award winners and the Mayor of city of Whittlesea, Cr Kozmevski (centre).

Tanya, passionate about interfaith projects and charity work, has participated in the Great Cycle Challenge for three consecutive years and raised over $17,000 for cancer research in those three years, with Mariam’s wonderful help and support.

Mariam’s father Hadi Moeladawilah is of Yemeni-Indonesian background and was born in Indonesia. He came to Australia aged 2 and has been living here ever since. He holds a degree and has been working for Australia Post for the past 11 years. He is one of Benevolence Australia’s volunteers.

Mariam with her family

Mariam with her family

Mariam’s elder sister Safiyyah, 12, born in Bremen/Germany is a Year 7 student at Al Siraat College as well.

The whole family are very keen mountain bike riders.