The Australian Refugee Association is delighted to announce that our Youth Ambassador Rachel Nyiramugisha was recognised with an Award for Excellence in Languages and Culture on Australia Day. Provided by the Multicultural Education Committee on behalf of the Minister for Education and Child Development, the Award was given to a young person who advocates for a multicultural Australia, has a high degree of competence in more than one language and demonstrates outstanding qualities including community leadership.
Rachel has served as a Youth Ambassador for ARA for the past two years and is a passionate advocate for new arrivals from refugee backgrounds. Having come to Australia as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007, she has a firsthand understanding of the challenges that come with resettling in a new country and culture. Learning English (in addition to the four other languages she speaks fluently), transitioning to a new education system and adjusting to the Australian culture were all testing experiences for Rachel. Nevertheless, with her resilience and tenacity, it did not take long for her to find her feet.
In addition to her studies, Rachel has worked tirelessly with ARA to educate the wider community about refugee experiences and the settlement journey. She has courageously shared her personal story at numerous events, often to large audiences, answering questions and talking openly about what she and her family went through as refugees forced to flee from conflict.
Rachel recently finished Year 12 at Loreto College and intends to study International Development at university. ARA is proud to be associated with such an inspiring young leader and congratulates Rachel for all that she has achieved.