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Queensland Multicultural Awards 2016

The Queensland Multicultural Awards 2016 recognise the valuable contributions of Queenslanders who support and promote a united, harmonious and inclusive Queensland community.

The award winners were announced at a lunch held at the Logan Entertainment Centre on Saturday 20 August.

Award winners

Services and Communities – Organisation (proudly supported by Access Community Services)

Winner: The Friends of HEAL Foundation

The Friends of HEAL Foundation (FHEAL) is a unique charity providing creative arts therapy to Brisbane schools for adolescent refugee children, to enhance their wellbeing and to ensure they have the best chance to participate in community life.

The HEAL program was initially set up in 2004 at Milperra State High School to offer young refugees some relief from challenges after trauma and dislocation, by using creative methods. The success of the initial program recognised that HEAL should also be made freely available to other schools with refugee youth. FHEAL began raising funds to supply free creative arts therapy to Brisbane high schools to improve the lives of refugee young people and offer them access to a community participating with understanding and belonging.

FHEAL is committed to a strong and unified community and is actively working towards enhancing young refugees’ opportunities in life. This unique program of creative arts therapy offers safe, culturally competent and caring assistance to culturally diverse adolescents.


Services and Communities – Individual (proudly supported by Queensland Rail)

Mrs Regina Samykanu-Vuthapanich

Winner: Mrs Regina Samykanu-Vuthapanich

For many years Regina Samykanu-Vuthapanich has been delivering activities to promote multiculturalism and a unified community in the increasingly diverse Lockyer Valley.

Regina started her career as a nurse at Ingham Hospital, later moving to Gatton to commence her studies in agriculture at the University of Queensland (UQ). During this time Regina worked in aged care before going on to pursue a career in horticulture at UQ, both in the field and as a lecturer. Regina’s pioneering work in the Lockyer region has seen her set up the first youth council in the region and establish the Gatton Multicultural Festival and the Overseas Students Association Support Group. In addition, she founded the Lockyer Valley Multicultural Association and the Somerset Migrant Resource Centre.

The assistance Regina provides extends across various cultural groups and sectors of the community, including asylum seekers, refugees, international students, backpackers and the wider community through her extensive volunteer work with Rotary Australia and the Gatton Catholic Parish.


Business Excellence (proudly supported by Commonwealth Bank)

Townsville Hospital and Health Service

Winner: Townsville Hospital and Health Service

Understanding that securing sustainable employment enables people from all backgrounds to feel settled in the community, the Townsville Hospital partnered with TAFE Queensland North on a pilot project, which saw 18 culturally and linguistically diverse job seekers gain their first taste of working in Australia.

The Townsville Hospital offers non-clinical work experience placements for job seekers participating in the federally funded Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) initiative at TAFE Queensland North.

This initiative proved highly successful in supporting migrant and refugee job seekers with no prior Australian work experience to gain their first taste of working in their new homeland. The experience gave the students the confidence to know they can perform successfully in a job and made them feel more connected to, and welcomed by, the local community. In addition, this innovative approach enabled the hospital to enhance their engagement with culturally diverse local communities.

Townsville Hospital continues to host TAFE Queensland North SEE students in 2016.


Employment, Education and Training Innovation – Private Enterprise (proudly supported by Commonwealth Bank)

The Multicultural Sports Club

Winner: The Multicultural Sports Club

The Multicultural Sports Club (MSC) is an initiative of Multicultural Youth Queensland, which is a youth-led, innovative, not-for-profit organisation that provides targeted services, programs and projects to improve life outcomes for young people aged 12 to 30 years.

MSC’s Coach and Officiating Development Program is an innovative initiative creating opportunities for youth from multicultural backgrounds to gain qualifications for employment within the sports industry while also giving back to the community through training and mentoring junior coaches and
delivering grassroots sports programs.

The MSC also works closely with local sporting clubs and associations in the Logan community, including Logan City Netball Association, Rochedale Rovers Football Club, Kingsridge Touch Association and Logan City Cricketers Association. These partnerships are critical to the growth of the club’s programs as they provide playing pathways for players as well as further training and mentoring opportunities for MSC coaches and officials.


Employment, Education and Training Innovation — Public Sector (proudly supported by Department of Education and Training)

Queensland Police Service Academy – ROLE Program

Winner: Queensland Police Service Academy – ROLE Program

The ROLE initiative is a mentoring project that pairs students from Glenala State High School with police recruits from the Oxley Police Academy. The program name, ROLE, stands for Respecting Ourselves, Leadership and Education.

During visits to the Police Academy, Inala PCYC and Glenala State High the students and recruits work together building trust and understanding by completing leadership and team-building activities. By developing a personal relationship with their mentor and through shared experience, students are encouraged and motivated to complete schooling and set career goals.

Queensland Police Service recruits also have the opportunity to get to know and better understand local students from culturally diverse backgrounds, while improving communication skills. The connections created by the ROLE initiative benefit both groups involved in this program.

The students are representative of the diverse Inala community and come from a wide variety of cultural groups, including African, Philipino, Vietnamese, Somalian, Tongan, Samoan, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Anglo-Saxon.


Outstanding Volunteer (proudly supported by Logan City Council)

Ms Naseema Mustapha

Winner: Ms Naseema Mustapha

Since 1998 Naseema Mustapha has worked tirelessly in various volunteer roles helping to support multiculturalism and harmony in her community and building bridges between the Muslim and wider community in Brisbane.

She has taken an interest in a range of cultural and community groups and has been involved in causes such as blanket and clothing drives to assist asylum seekers, English tutoring, fundraising for orphanages in Africa, and the Griffith University Refugee Students’ Association Refugee Day Festival.

She is currently working with the Faces of Islam project, which aims to encourage a diverse group of everyday Muslim Australians to share their stories and quotes with the community. Naseema works with a team to demystify Muslim people by breaking down false stereotypes, and sharing common experiences, to bring people together.


Communication and Media Achievement (proudly supported by SBS)

Reporting Islam Project Team

Winner: Reporting Islam Project Team

The Reporting Islam Project aims to combat the negative stereotyping of Islam and Muslims in the media through the development of a research-based, best-practice guide for journalists reporting on stories about Islam and Muslims.

Developed and first tested here in Queensland in consultation with South-East Queensland Muslim community leaders, the project team has created a suite of research-based multimedia training and education resources for Australian media practitioners and tertiary institutions to encourage more mindful and accurate reporting of Muslims and the Islamic faith. The project team is now delivering targeted training courses nationally.

Strong partnerships have also been formed with Muslim community members, international academic experts, educators and media industry personnel. The project team’s innovative and proactive approach promotes acceptance and understanding of Islam across diverse cultural groups and the wider community.


Minister’s Multicultural Award

The Multicultural Community Centre

Winner: The Multicultural Community Centre

The Multicultural Community Centre assists migrants, refugees and disadvantaged members of the community through settlement services, training and employment support.

The Multicultural Community Centre provides a range of pathways for those in need to be assisted at different points in their lives depending on their circumstances.

The centre helps migrants and refugees settle into their new country through providing case officers who offer assistance ranging from life skills programs (health, nutrition, cancer screening, literacy and numeracy) to job preparation classes, including interviews to help find the right job.

Literally hundreds of lives have been changed for the better through gaining meaningful employment as a result of the centre’s accredited training and job assistance programs, their reputation for providing highly capable, enthusiastic and hardworking candidates, and their commitment to the maxim: ‘Changing lives and changing destinies’.

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Last updated
24 August, 2016

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