The Victorian Multicultural Awards for Excellence honour outstanding individuals and organisations that foster cross-cultural understanding, support migrants and refugees, and celebrate and preserve the diversity of cultures that make Victoria such a great place to live. This year, two awards were given to multicultural workers in Shepparton.
This award recognises people and organisations that develop and implement sporting programs that aim to build social cohesion and harmony across communities.
Highly Commended – Sam Atukorala
Sam Atukorala is a well-known community leader in Victoria, a respected mentor to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and a professional in the community sector.
He is an AFL Diversity Program Ambassador and was a Community Ambassador for Cricket Australia.
He has organised footy trips, events and several key projects in Shepparton to support young people from new and emerging communities to engage in sport.
Sam’s significant contribution to these projects not only helped break down barriers and build sustainable relationships but also created a smooth transition for young people from new and emerging communities to settle into life in Australia.
COMMUNITY INNOVATION AWARD
This award recognises projects or programs that have been established in the last 18 months that use outside-the-box thinking to address a problem facing a diverse community and that shares knowledge about a culture with a wider audience.
Highly Commended – African Focus, St Paul’s African House
The ‘Our voices are important in Greater Shepparton’ project was the first of its kind to perform an in-depth survey of 255 adults of African background in the Greater Shepparton area. This award wasw accepted by Kate Radevski, of St Paul’s African House.
It created a broader understanding and acceptance of different African nationalities and cultures of the team members involved.
Several special reports have also been shared with key stakeholders to provide valuable information and encourage change around particular topics, including COVID-19 vaccination rollout, language and interpreter services through Monash University and tailored support to assist the African community to gain employment.
This project also gave paid employment to newcomers to the workforce who have since gone on to develop their careers in other meaningful employment.