skip to Main Content
NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors
Slide background


Humanitarian Awards 2019


Best Project

Shaun Halden (teacher)
Cars for Refugees

The TAS (Technology and Applied Studies) Faculty at Blaxland High School teaches a range of subjects including Industrial Technology Automotive.  As part of the curriculum for this subject, we have been lucky enough to have access to a number of used but no longer needed vehicles, all of which have been donated by members of the local and wider community. Sometimes these cars just need some TLC and minor repairs, while others need something more major. Students from Years 8 through 12 thoroughly enjoy the experience, spending class time repairing and servicing these vehicles, and learning a wide variety of relevant practical skills in the process. Once the necessary work has been finished, any vehicles that are ready for another life will be donated to refugees living in the community via the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group. This relationship has been operating now for about two years, delivering in excess of fifteen cars.


Mitchell Smith
Refugee Health Service Disability Project
Director, NSW Refugee Health Service



Kaye Harrison
Director, Bunya Treehouse Productions

Kaye develops strong relationships of trust with her participants and this translates into a powerful intimacy in her films. Her vision is to represent her subjects with integrity and compassion so that their stories might open the hearts and minds of the audience. Kaye’s body of work includes The Troublesome Priest, a film about controversial Anglican priest Father Rod Bower, who is famous for his church signs that go viral around the world via social media. Sanctuary tells the story of Khaled – a young man struggling to hold onto his humanity as he searches 10 years across continents, for peace and freedom.

Refugee Community Worker

Nohara Odicho
Community Engagement Officer, Legal Aid NSW Refugee Service

Nohara Odicho is an Assyrian refugee who arrived in Australia from Syria in 2015. Prior to coming to Australia Nohara was studying to be an engineer.

Soon after her arrival Nohara commenced working as a volunteer in community organizations such as CORE, Community Services and Settlement Service International (SSI) to help and support refugees like herself. She worked as peer support worker at Happy Healthy Minds program (Mission Australia). Since 2017 Nohara has worked as the Community Engagement Office at the Refugee Service of Legal Aid NSW where she manages the Community Legal Education program that helps to improve refugees’ legal literacy and increase access to legal services. She is actively involved in advocating, developing new resources and workshops to help alleviate barriers and educate refugees on their rights and responsibilities here in Australia.

Refugee Supporter

Adrian Mees
Music For Refugees (guitar teacher and motivator)

Adriaan Mees left his native country The Netherlands in 1989, worked and lived with his family in South Korea, The Philippines and Germany, and settled in Australia in 1999. Originally with a legal background, he shifted later into music and teaching. He started engaging in refugee work casually joining a church community group visiting the Villawood IDC. Through the contacts made there he moved into assisting asylum seekers with writing last resort letters to the minister, as well as facilitating music lessons and jam sessions. Relieving the stress of detention through music is what he has been doing with passion for the past eleven years.

Dr Shanti Raman
Local Area Health District, Director Community Paediatrics

Shanti Raman is a Community Paediatrician, whose research and advocacy interests include refugee health, indigenous health, maternal and child health, child rights and child maltreatment. As the Director of Community Paediatrics, she is responsible for clinical Child Development and Child Protection services across South Western Sydney, and directs research and training. She is involved with policy and advocacy internationally promoting a rights-based perspective to child health. She has established innovative clinical services for vulnerable populations including refugee children/youth, Aboriginal children, children at risk of maltreatment. She is also engaged in community development with culturally diverse populations focusing on gender-based issues.

Rural and Regional

Susan Pancaldi

My name is Susan Pancaldi. I work for Gowrie NSW and am the co-ordinator for our Early Learning Centre located at Armidale TAFE NSW. I am privileged to work with our Armidale Kurdish Ezidi refugee families, dedicated to providing a safe, nurturing and educational environment for their children as they attend English AMEP (Adult Migrant English Program) classes at TAFE NSW. Our centre is unique in that all our children attending are Kurdish refugees and have experienced significant trauma in their short lives. We provide an environment that offers a safe, secure and emotionally nurturing space for both the children and their families – we are welcomed like family into their homes and offer support and friendship as they share their stories and hope for their childrens future.


Jane Wallace,
Refugee Student Programs Advisor
Early Learning and Primary Education, NSW Department of Education

Jane Wallace is the state-wide Refugee Student Programs Advisor in the NSW Department of Education. In this role, she leads refugee education in NSW government schools, developing and facilitating the delivery of professional learning, resources and targeted programs to support schools and teachers in meeting the complex educational needs of refugee students. Since 2017, Jane has also led and supported a large team of Refugee Support Leaders in building the capacity of schools in meeting the needs of refugee students and their families.

Jane has over 30 years of experience working in multicultural education and is passionate about ensuring that refugee students are able to thrive and succeed at school. She has a wealth of experience teaching and supporting NSW government schools and in working in collaboration with other agencies to support refugee resettlement.


Tamana Mirzada
Project Officer, Lebanese Muslim Association

Tamana Mirzada is an Afghan Australian youth advocate who is passionate about creating spaces that support newly arrived communities in their settlement journey. She arrived in Australia in 2007 from Germany making it her final settlement country. In the past Tamana has worked with Community Migrant Resource Centre, The Refugee Council of Australia and Shakti NSW Refugee and Migrant Women Support Group on various initiatives including education, employment and well-being. Currently, she is working at the Lebanese Muslim Association under the Thrive Youth Transition Support initiative as a Project Officer, where she supports the capacity building of newly arrived youth by developing innovative solutions to access employment and education opportunities in Australia. Tamana is also of part of the Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW through her role as a Youth Ambassador she advocates for creating spaces for youth participation across policy development and decision making.

Best Project

Zoe Hogan
Education Development Officer Connected – Sydney Theatre Company

Since 2016, Sydney Theatre Company’s Connected program has helped adults with refugee backgrounds learn English and foster social connections through drama workshops. The program is delivered in partnership with organisations across Greater Sydney, including STARTTS, Asylum Seekers Centre, MTC Australia and The University of Sydney’s Refugee Language Program. Connected uses imaginative stories and folktales to explore character, place and meaning. The program also aims to increase participants’ sense of social connection and wellbeing. Participants enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and find that learning English quickly becomes fun.

Back To Top