Ahmed Hassan, Co-founder and Executive Director of Youth Activating Youth was announced as the Young Australian of the Year 2022 in Victoria on Wednesday 10 November 2021. The 25 year old Australian, of Somali and Eritrean heritage, reflects with AMUST on the significance of this award, and the representation it has to the wider multicultural community.
“This award reflects a proud moment for the whole Muslim, Somali and Eritrean communities. Having more diversity in the Islamic arena is incredibly important, we must have more representation on many different platforms, organisations, committees to make sure that every community is represented well,” said Ahmad Hassan.
Ahmed co-founded the not-for-profit organisation in 2014 at the age of 18 years.
“I started Youth Activating Youth to help the most vulnerable young people and provide them with opportunities in employment and education. We have created leadership programs to empower our youth and give them the skills and confidence to be leaders. This award comes with recognition and many opportunities and I’d like to use that for the betterment of the community inshallah,” he said.
Often times when it comes to Muslims speaking in the Media, they are mostly seniors and look of a similar heritage. We need more diverse representation not just in cultural heritage, but also age and gender.
“It’s incredibly important to listen to our youth. They have a perspective that other people don’t have. The youthoffer a unique perspective which is important because they are our future and we look forward to them leading the community. We need to provide the right platforms and foundation for them to succeed,” Ahmed said.
There needs to be positive role models for future generations that are not far removed with age. Working amongst youth, Ahmed reflects on his 24 year old journey and shares with us a principle he lives by.
“My message to others is consistency. Be committed and dedicated through being consistent. Consistency leads to success, it’s the only way through achieving your goals. Following through with what you set out to do is so important,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed achieved his success, with support from his family, community as well as having mentors and role models in his life who were able to be his sounding board.
“I have so many people that are mentors and role models that have done great work in different fields: business, sport, arts, leadership. Mentors have a positive impact as they offer guidance and support and assistance where needed. My mentors have been good sounding boards to go to when I need to be heard out and advised,” he said.
See Ahmed’s profile on the Youth Activating Youth website.
“In five years, I see myself in the same position inshallah and I am excited to see Youth Activating Youth being bigger and better in time as we grow and provide more support to the community. I would hope to be a better person and a better leader to encourage more people in the community to do more and achieve great things,” said Ahmed.
Ahmed is an advocate for Melbourne’s disadvantaged multicultural communities, many of whom were vulnerable to the city’s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahmed spoke to ABC News sharing his experience of suffering from the Coronavirus. (20 July 2020, ABC News). Following this, Ahmed received online backlash and hate, when he got COVID and spread awareness for the virus. (The Age, 15 November 2020).
Ahmad is a Western Bulldogs Community Foundation board member. On receiving the nomination, the General Manager of Community & Government Relations, Kashif Bouns said “We are extremely proud of (…) Ahmed, and are extremely lucky to have such high-quality people on our WBCF board,” (Western Bulldogs, 27 October 2021).
He appeared on Nine News, to showcase the Youth Activating Youth employment program to help disadvantaged Melbournians reconnect with the workforce.
“Australia needs to see what diversifying the workforce looks like and migrant communities have a lot to offer, they’re very resilient and reliable” said Ahmed. (Nine News)
He has appeared on Channel’s Ten: The Project discussing the coronavirus pandemic and how it has hit Australia’s migrant communities particularly hard, and thousands are struggling to make ends meet. Ahmed Hassan, as a young support worker went above and beyond to ensure the very survival of the vulnerable people he’s working with.
“You’re not going to get a day off, especially in the pandemic,” said Ahmed.
Ahmad Hassan appeared on Q&A on 24 August 2020 for “Generation COVID” after testing positive for COVID and recovered.
As a fun question, I asked Ahmed for his favourite chocolate bar.
“You’re talking to a diabetic! I do like Snickers,” he said.