With a unique slogan that advocates for access, representation and good governance, Mehak Sheikh hopes to #SheikhThingsUp! by asking her local community to vote for her in the Wyndham City Council election in Melbourne on 23 October.
It is rare to meet a young 24 year old with such an impressive resume in our community. But Mehak Sheikh is one of those unique individuals with plenty of years of experience under her belt.
Having worked in the community for 8 years, Mehak has facilitated projects for children, youth, seniors, cross-cultural events and small business networks. She also has experience dealing with countless advisory committees across Western suburbs, state and federal levels.
Describing herself as a “lifelong learner” with a psychology background; Mehak is a fourth-generation Kenyan and Punjabi Pakistani. Having moved to Australia from the UAE and Kenya in 2012, she has experienced a vibrant cultural upbringing rooted in sound Islamic values.
“My parents and religious upbringing always encouraged philanthropy,” said Mehak.
She is also the youngest candidate running for council in her ward. What inspired her to run for council was a campaign titled “Women Leading Change” which aimed at targeting youth participation in local government.
“I became an advocate for cultural diversity and intercultural engagement (where I facilitate and support)…spaces where …(community can) bridge the gaps between cultures for meaningful integration.”
Eager to contribute to her community, Mehak has worked with various groups to support young people and newly arrived migrants to develop life skills and civic participation skills, thereby enhancing well-being through the social enterprise, U-Learn.
Last year, the city of Wyndham experienced the largest and fastest population growth in Victoria and was the second largest and fastest expanding in Australia. To cater to these increasing needs, she hopes to see a collaborative and progressive council which considers innovation and sustainable development practices on social and environmental issues.
“My vision is to see local jobs and opportunities, a safe community inside and outside our homes, a transformed waste management system and sustainable infrastructure that bring value for rates,” expressed Mehak.
She is also a highly accomplished candidate with a long list of achievements. In 2018, Mehak was an esteemed guest invited to Government House in Melbourne to meet with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
Mehak is an all-rounded achiever, who has previous experience as a member of Wyndham’s Youth Task Force Committee. She was also a recipient of the Leaders in Communities Award from the University of Melbourne and the Gorton Young Leaders Award and the 2017 Victorian Young Achiever Awards (presented by Minister for Youth Affairs, Jenny Mikakos).
If elected, Mehak’s priority is to ensure that council has a more inclusive voice, with a particular focus on youth as she believes “that we need to invest in the next generation and that the world we create now is the world we leave for them.”
“I dedicated myself to this work because I noticed how much young people, amongst other marginalised communities such as people living with a disability or from non-English speaking backgrounds, were getting left behind in important discussions that affected their lives and futures. As a young person of colour, I experienced this too,” explained Mehak.
Mehak’s greatest ambition is to ensure that no one is “left behind” whether they be our First Nations people, people with disability, youth or those from culturally diverse backgrounds.
“I’m driven to do something about injustice with my privilege. Seeing the trajectory of people’s lives be determined by their location, finances and identity makes me frustrated and makes me want to demand change.”
For more information visit: https://www.mehaksheikh.com/about/