Griffith Bachelor of Human Services graduate Sanesie Dukuly has been named winner of the African Australian Community Ambassador Award.
Sponsored by the Queensland African Communities Council, Sanesiereceived the honour last week at the inaugural Queensland African-Australian Awards 2014 at Queensland Parliament House, Brisbane.
Graduating with an Australian university degree is a great milestone for anyone. But it iseven greater for someone who starts out in life as a refugee, can barely speak Englishuntil the age of 15 and then goes on to be the founder of the Griffith Refugee Students
Sanesie, 28, was accepted at Griffith’s Logan campus in 2011 where he managed tosuccessfully combine degree study with work as a mentor for the university’s Uni KeyProgram, a peer mentoring program which supports undergraduate students in their firstHowever, Sanesie originally started off life in the civil war-torn countries of Liberia, Ivory Coast and Guinea, before arriving in Perth as a refugee with family in 2005.
“My English was next to non-existent and it was pretty hard to get a start in life,” he says.
“I was pretty lonely too and with having to send money home to other family members, Ididn’t have a lot to live on. After a brief move to Sydney I then moved onto Brisbane in2006 where I found work in a meat factory and then in airport security.
“Because of some of the traumatic experiences I had had as a refugee I eventuallydecided to do a full-time TAFE course in Juvenile Justice alongside a certificate inEnglish. I loved what I learnt and the course gave me the impetus to start aiming for acareer in the community services field.”
Considering the list of award finalists, coordinator Sharon Orapeleng said: “This year’s awards was a very competitive process. We had a huge number of individuals from the African-Australian community across QLD nominated for the awards this year and the contribution of each of the candidates was amazing.
“These awards not only reflect diversity in achievements among our African communities and individuals, but also recognition of talent among African-Australians in regional Queensland.”
Hear more about Sanesie Dukuly at http://www.griffith.edu.au/do-more/new-videos2/sanesies-videos/sanesies-60sec-video