Sahra Abdi, 24 has recently been awarded the 2017 Western Australian Youth Volunteer of the Year Award for her dedication to assisting Syrian refugee families settle in as new Australians.
Abdi has also secured her place as a 2017 finalist for the Western Australian Volunteer for Multicultural Communities Award, recognising her ongoing support in facilitating and promoting diversity in Australia.
“I feel very humbled and grateful to be recognised for the work I do with helping newly arrived migrants resettle into Australia,” she said.
The young Australian volunteers her time to engage with local migrant communities, particularly those arriving as refugees, and provides them with essential materials and assistance in settling in to their new home.
“I try to bridge the gap between what settlement services provide and families need. I mainly provide social support so that the families can integrate into Australian society.”
The Perth resident has been recognised by members of the community as an “outstanding young woman who works tirelessly to help others”.
Abdi spends most of her free time with refugees, creating friendships and community connections that will help the migrants feel comfortable as new Western Australian residents.
“The trauma and the things that these families have gone can be triggering and emotional at times. I am driven by their strength and always remind myself that I am human and that could have easily been me.”
Abdi’s work for the community extends beyond helping those in her immediate surroundings to encouraging youth from culturally diverse backgrounds to achieving their full potential.
“Volunteering and giving back to my community is super important to me. It’s great for others to also see a young Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) person do it. I hope my journey and my achievements inspire other youth, particularly CALD youth, to give back and make a difference.”
As a Muslim, Abdi holds strong connections to her faith, with her religious values driving her passion for helping others through charity and aid.
“Social justice and aid is very much a big part of Islam so, absolutely, it motivates me and acts as a reminder as to why I do it.”
Her involvement in the community is one that Abdi intends to continue through advocating for the rights of migrants and refugees and providing the necessary help they require to adjust their new lives in Australia.
“I will continue to be helping these families and any other families that come to Perth. Furthermore, I hope to continue to do many of the other volunteering initiatives I am involved in, all of which I am very passionate about.”