Kevin and Rahila, refugee themselves their work for other refugees recognised on Australia Day

Kevin Kadrimgamar, a refugee and migration lawyer,   is this years nominee for the Young Australian of the Year, Northern Territory

Kevin had to escape his birthplace of Sri Lanka from civil conflict in his teens. It gave Kevin Kadirgamar a deep appreciation of the suffering experienced by many, and a steely determination to be a voice of the vulnerable. As a law student, Kevin co-founded Multicultural Youth NT, a youth-led organisation that promotes harmony and empowers young people to implement change in their own communities. Now 28, Kevin is a lawyer championing the rights of migrants and refugees. He’s been recognised for his outstanding pro bono work on high-profile cases, fighting for the freedom of children and young people who were held in indefinite immigration detention. A former board member of many youth justice and human rights groups, Kevin mentors students and junior solicitors through Charles Darwin University, provides free migration advice every month and is the President of the Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory. Kevin’s indefatigable efforts demonstrate the important role a lawyer can play in fundamentally changing the lives of others.

2018 WA Young Australian of the Year Nominee

Rahila Haidary

State: Western Australia

Refugee and human rights advocate

As a small child growing up in Afghanistan, Rahila Haidary was eager to attend school but had to dress as a boy to gain entry. Subsequent threats against her family forced Rahila and her parents to flee their homeland. After many years of displacement and distress, Rahila arrived in Australia as a refugee. Since then, Rahila has become an outstanding young leader who has generously shared her own stories, and used her rich intellectual capital to promote understanding of the refugee experience, strengthen cross cultural empathy, and advocate for gender equality and human rights. A UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador, Rahila has played a significant role in documentaries, including ”˜Is Australia Racist?’, to challenge discrimination and existing attitudes to refugees. She is also a volunteer and storyteller with Behind the Wire, an oral history project that documents the stories of people held in Australian mandatory immigration detention. A qualified interpreter, Rahila is a deeply committed to her work enhancing community cohesion and human rights.

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