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NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors
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Humanitarian Awards 2018


Best Project

House of Welcome & JRS Leonie Dyer

This award is for an outstanding project working with or assisting refugees. The project can be run by an individual, group or organisation and can either be ongoing or completed during the last year.

A founding member of Mums4Refugees and the Sydney Convener for Advocacy, Leonie has shown generosity and compassion to people in her local community, providing community assistance, social and emotional support and advocating for change and improvements in people’s lives, with a strong focus on building strong communities. She works with two refugee service providers in Parramatta and Granville and volunteers for a third organisation assisting people seeking asylum and refugees to find pathways to study and employment. Her employment programme connects new arrivals to meaningful training and jobs, facilitates applications, checks, medicals and other potential barriers to work and offers the essential stuff necessary for a comfortable home life.


Alison Battisson

Individuals or organisations from the government or legal sectors working to advise, assist or support asylum seekers or refugees.

Alison Battisson is the Director Principal of Human Rights for All (HR4A). HR4A is a pro bono human rights law firm that focuses on ending arbitrary detention of asylum seekers in Australia. HR4A represents long term detained and complex cases asylum seekers, and uses a collaborative, flexible and creative approach to human rights advocacy. Alison regularly visits places of detention to meet those asylum seekers most in need, and takes their cases to the Australian courts, commissions, tribunals, and to international bodies including the UN and the ICC.


Saba Vasefi

Media outlets, journalists or media officers supporting, prioritising and/or raising awareness of refugee issues.

An Iranian-Australian academic, filmmaker, poet and associate Lecturer at Macquarie University, Saba was a correspondent of International Campaign for Human Rights in New York and at 24 became a lecturer at the prestigious Shahid Beheshti University in Iran. Saba is the director of the Sydney International Women’s Poetry & Arts Festival, creative director of Bridge for Asylum Seekers Foundation, a Refugee Week and Asylum Seekers Centre ambassador and a recipient of the Premier’s Multicultural Medal for Art and Culture. Saba was a finalist of both the Premier’s Multicultural Media Award and in the Women’s Agenda Leadership Award. Her articles have been published in BBC, The Guardian, Daily Life and Institute for War and Peace Reporting. She has produced various documentaries and is currently undertaking a PhD in feminist cinema studies.

Refugee Community Worker

Sajeda Bahadurmia

A former refugee working on refugee issues with their own or other refugee communities, in either a paid or unpaid position.

Sajeda Bahadurmia is a 31 year old Rohingyan woman who has been in Australia for the last 5 years. She has demonstrated leadership qualities and a passion for improving the health and welfare of asylum seekers and refugees in her community since 2014, at the time of undertaking English classes. Sajeda is very active with community and humanitarian work and volunteers for many organisations including SSI, STARTTS, the Rohingyan Community and Canterbury Community Centre. She started her own business, Asma Henna & Make Up this year. She is a participant of the SSI Ignite Ability Enterprise Program and recently trained as an educator to help deliver FICT (Families in cultural Transition) training groups at STARTTS. She speaks 6 languages including Rohingyan, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Arabic and English and lives in Lakemba with her husband and six children.

Refugee Supporter

Dulce Munoz

A member of the broader Australian community, of any background, supporting and assisting refugees in any capacity, in either a paid or unpaid position.

Dulce Muñoz is a mother, feminist and refugee advocate. She is the National Convener of Mums4Refugees Sydney, a grassroots network of mothers that provides social, legal and material aid to people seeking asylum and people from refugee backgrounds. She collaborates with National Justice Project and Human Rights For All, she was a finalist for Do-Gooder 2017 and The WLS Foundation 2017. She is passionate about the role of motherhood as an agent of social change.

Rural and Regional

Burhan Zangana

Organisations or individuals working in regional areas of NSW to assist refugees.

Burhan Zangana came to Australia as a refugee in 1995, having fled war torn Iraq in 1993. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Technology Baghdad-Iraq, a Graduate diploma in Engineering from University of Sydney Australia and a Diploma of Community Services from TAFE, NSW. Burhan is currently working as an Education Support Officer at TAFE NSW, Wollongong campu, is a Student Learning Support Officer at Wollongong West Public School and a Language Support Worker at Wollongong City Council. Burhan tells his personal refugee story to schools and community groups as part of the Refugee Council of Australia’s ‘Face to Face: understanding refugees’ schools program. He is an active volunteer in his community and among his inspiring achievements, was a finalist for Wollongong Citizen of the Year in both 2017 and 2018.


Fairvale High School

Schools, universities and other educational institutions, or individuals working at such institutions, who assist former refugees by breaking down barriers to education.

Ms Juliet Yawanis,
Ms Esrah Pratt,
Ms Celina Duplad

Lunch With Fairvale is a group-based project to support recently arrived refugees of Assyrian and Iraqi backgrounds for the successful resettlement in Fairfield City areas. The support is provided by the form of disseminating relevant information to the refugee parents. The group is recruited from the refugee parents at Fairvale High School and consists of 28 parents of mixed gender. The project is instigated and run by three staff members who have innovatively combined relevant information sessions with culturally related food and availability of interpreters to refugee families in the area.


Hilal Tawakal

A young person aged 12-25 of refugee background making an outstanding contribution to Australian society in their chosen field.

Hilal Tawakal is an Afghan citizen born in Pakistan who fled to Pakistan due to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. He arrived in Australia in 2014 having been granted refugee status. Since arriving in Australia, he has contributed widely to the Australian community. He has been assigned to Holroyd High School SRC and contributed to both school and community events, having served as a former student representative. Hilal was appointed Youth Ambassador with CHILOUT (Children out of Detention Centre) and is the recipient of the Western Sydney Refugee Award 2017 and both Rotary Peace and Community Service Awards. He is currently studying Medical Sciences at UWS.

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