Former refugee, and now human rights advocate, Shukufa Tahiri has been recognised as one of Australia’s most influential woman for her tireless work.
The Australian Financial Review this week named Ms Tahiri in its prestigious 100 Women of Influence awards.
Ms Tahiri arrived in Australia to reunite with her father who had sought asylum in Australia when she was 13, after fleeing the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
The 25-year-old now works as a policy officer with the Refugee Council of Australia in Sydney, spending each day fighting for better laws and policies to protect the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum.
Since arriving in Australia, working through barriers, Ms Tahiri has made a huge impact on the lives of other refugee communities facing similar challenges.
She has started many social enterprises and grass root community empowerment programs including a 1.5 year-long free driving mentorship program and connectedness for refugee women. Her report on the experience of refugees accessing assistance through government funded employment services directly led to a change in service delivery in local area.
For many years she has volunteered in different community legal centres to assist people seeking asylum and refugees to access legal assistance. She works actively on development programs through Akademos Society including through their Kids Off the Street Program to enable youth, especially young women to access education in Afghanistan and Pakistan who are in protracted refugee and unstable situations.
“I am honoured to be named amongst so many incredible and accomplished women in Australia at a very early stage of my work,” she said.
“It means that my work so far has been purposeful which further invigorates me to continue my work and advocacy with a principled approach. Recognition by the Australian Financial Review has reaffirmed my view that there is willingness and genuine interest beyond the refugee and community sector, in the mainstream corporate and business community to be our allies in battling for better refugee and asylum policies.
“I strongly attribute this recognition to the collective of refugee and human rights and community advocates whom I have been working alongside with despite the uncertainty and challenges.”
Refugee Council of Australia chief executive Paul Power says the organisation is proud of what Ms Tahiri has achieved.
“We are all in awe of Shukufa. Her tenacity, experience and empathy are such an asset and to have her recognised as one of Australia’s most influential women is validation of the incredible work she does,” Mr Power said.