Three SSI staff members have been recognised for the outstanding work they do, above and beyond their SSI roles, to support women from multicultural backgrounds.
Najeeba Wazefadost, Tenneh Kpaka and Fatima Kourouche were finalists in the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women’s (ACLW) recent Diversity Awards, in recognition of work they’ve done to empower women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
First place in the category went to Hazara Women of Australia — an organisation Ms Wazefadost co-founded to increase access to employment and educational opportunities for women from the Afghan community and to reduce their social isolation.
Ms Kpaka was recognised as an individual for the work she has undertaken as the chair of the Australian National Committee on Refugee Women, where she led several projects designed to support women from CALD backgrounds into leadership roles in their communities.
Ms Kourouche was recognised for her work as the founding president of the Olivetree Women’s Network, which connects CALD women and girls with mentoring and social opportunities that help them to reach their full potential in the areas of employment, education and training.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the recognition of the three women’s work was particularly important in light of the awards’ stringent criteria.
"These awards were about highlighting the work of unsung diversity champions and recognising their efforts to include and empower women, especially those from marginalised social groups," she said.
"Ms Wazefadost, Ms Kpaka and Ms Kourouche spend every work day supporting and empowering people from vulnerable communities. The fact that they then dedicate such a significant portion of their leisure time to doing the same is a testament to their drive and compassion."
Ms Roumeliotis congratulated the diversity champions on their well-deserved recognition.
"All three women have displayed real ingenuity in noticing and then addressing obstacles that stop women from CALD backgrounds from fulfilling their potential. They should be applauded for their diligence," she said.