Hi my name is Mebrahtom Yabio, but most people call me Tom. I am 27 Years old and I was born in a Refugee Camp in Sudan called Umrakuba. My father left Ethiopia 1970 because of the war and political unrest in Ethiopia. I am the third youngest of 9 children consisting of 6 sons and 3 daughters. I came with my family to Adelaide, Australia in October 1995. Settling in was easy as we had family already living in Adelaide that helped us get used to our new surroundings and environment. In 2007, my family and I then moved to Melbourne, for better education and work opportunities.
PLAYING ELITE JUNIOR SOCCER
Growing up, I played soccer at an elite level representing the South Australian under 15 State soccer team, travelling interstate to play state championships and also to London to compete in an international soccer tournament. During this period I was also playing for the South Australian Sports Institute and I was consistently in an professional training environment. Through this, I Learnt a lot of life-lessons. Playing soccer on a daily basis in an top level as a teenager taught me the skills that I know use in my career, such as commitment, drive, punctuality, respect and continues aim to improve my skills.
I Graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor degree in Accounting in 2011 and I was fortunate enough to secure a role in National Australian Bank through Australian African Inclusion Program soon after. I Have been working at NAB Bank as Analyst for over 6 years. During this however, I was always playing local soccer as it was a hobby that kept me fit and healthy both physically and mentally.
ESTABLISHING FOOTBALL EMPOWERMENT
Following that in 2016 I wanted to give back to the community the many lessons that I learnt through soccer, therefore myself and a group of active young people from the community who came to Australia as Refugees and had the same goals and vision, founded not-for-profit sports organisation Football Empowerment. From our own firsthand experiences, we understood the extreme challenges faced by young people trying to settle in Australia. Thus, we decided to set up programs that would be effective in empowering youth in the community to determine and secure positive futures. We are based in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne and our main aim is to address the social issues facing young people from disadvantaged communities by using soccer as a ‘vehicle’.
What Football Empowerment does is seek to engage and empower our participants by running soccer programs/activities that:
- Are free and accessible for all;
- Develop well-rounded individuals who practice cooperation, self-control, problem solving, self-discipline, perseverance, sportsmanship and fair play; and also
- Helps participants build and foster relationships and partnerships with people and the communities they live in.
My Community Voice – MiCare (New Hope Foundation
Active member of My Community Voice – organised by MiCare (New Hope Foundation) Action Forum & Network in the West. ‘It’s a platform for new and emerging community voice’. This event occurs quarterly difference community groups come together to;
- Meet key services and organisation
- Share each other’s passion for the community
- Access opportunities for their community groups
- Identify actions and address community need
- Share and learn new skills with other community reps