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CALD community young leader has big plans

24 July 20170 comments

At just 21 Hamsa Farah has dabbled in politics, become a leader in his community and plans to work to save the barrier reef.

The RMIT student was born in Adelaide after his parents came to Australia in 1994 escaping the Somali civil war.

“It took my parents a long time to settle down,” he said of his family’s settlement journey.

“The war forced them to flee their home and it took them a while to establish trust in their future,” Hamsa said.

“They feared that their security might be threatened again one day. But now they have been here 20 years and they have come to love this country,” he said.

Last year Hamsa ran for Maribyrnong City Council.

“It was a great opportunity to meet people, to go canvassing door to door,” he said.

“I did get some strange reactions and there was a bit of racism in some of the reactions but most people were really positive,” Hamsa said.

“They were pleased to see a young person from a diverse background running for council.

“I didn’t win a seat on council but it was rewarding and gratifying to take that extra step to try be a voice for those who don’t are aren’t able to speak up.”

His run for council was not expected and unplanned but it was “unique experience”.

“I was asked to run by one of the sitting councillors and if the opportunity arose again to get into politics I would probably accept it,” he said.

Hamsa is currently studying a Master’s degree in environmental science at RMIT.

He is passionate about protecting Australia’s natural landscape and working to combat the effects of climate change.

As a budding politician, iMPACT asked Hamsa what his first three actions would be were he to become Prime Minister.

Quick as a flash, he answered: “protect the natural landscape, particularly the Great Barrier Reef; shut down offshore detention; and, make myself and other politicians more accessible to people”.

Hamsa is also currently enrolled in a ground-breaking course for leaders from CALD communities in the prevention of violence against women (PVAW) recently launched in Melbourne.

The course, facilitated by migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia, has brought together 42 leaders from different language groups and communities to explore ways of combating family violence.

It aims to build the capacity of leaders from CALD communities to be able to lead actions to reduce violence against women in their own communities and also in the broader Australian community.

“It’s a great opportunity to hear from people who have deep experience and knowledge of family violence and gender equality,” Hamas said.

“When you hear about some of the issues it can be really emotional,” he said.

“I’m hoping I can make some contribution to my community to deliver these messages about gender equality and violence and to help address what is a really serious issue.”


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist