"My roots are from Iraq. My family came to Australia on a boat in the early 2000s when I was a year and a half old. At a very young age, I realized that my passion lies in helping people. Throughout my life, I have always tried to support the community to the best of my ability.
My name is Ali Al Battaat, and I work as a Social Cohesion through Education Project Officer at the Ethnic Council of Shepparton & District, Australia.
During high school, I worked as a tutor with an organization that believes in giving back to the community. Once a week I used to tutor primary school children after finishing my classes in high school. Most children that I assisted during tutoring were students that did not have as much support at home and needed help to complete their homework. I then started working as a pizza maker, and later switched to retail. While working in the retail industry, I realized that this was not what I aspire to be. I realized that I had different dreams for myself and that my heart belongs in the field of social service. So, I switched my field of study to social work. Currently, I am pursuing a Bachelor of Human Services & Masters of Social work at La Trobe University.
My first job with the social services started when I delivered a speech during a community event after the New Zealand Mosque shooting in 2019. Impressed by my speech, I was offered the position of Social Cohesion Officer by the manager of the Ethnic Council. My job mostly involves bringing the community together, advocating for youth, promoting social cohesion, and working in schools.
When COVID-19 hit Australia in the month of March, we shifted our focus towards spreading awareness and social cohesion online. We started exploring many issues that prevailed during the lockdown. One of the issues that stood out was family violence. We observed that the rate was three times higher than what it usually is according to statistics. Moreover, the existing resources about such issues are composed of complicated English language that only professionals can grasp. Hence, we started creating resources in different languages like Arabic, Dari, Turkish and simplified English, in order to assist our community. With the assistance of staff, local community leaders, and youth we have managed to create many videos and resources in language. In the month of April, we had about 10,000 views and engagements on these resources. Our content assisted many in the community and grabbed the interest of other local organizations.
In the month of May, we focussed on the topic of Education and the wellbeing of students. Since the lockdown, many parents took up the role of teachers and started home-schooling their kids. This was a first-timer for most parents and for most of them it was difficult to adapt to a different role for a certain period of time. The process became frustrating for parents and put a lot of pressure on both parents and students. Thus, it was immensely important for us to create content to support parents and promote more mental health and wellbeing support. I believe that after 10 years, these children will remember the massive world crisis more than their school syllabus in 2020. Therefore, it is crucial to cater to a child’s mental health in times like these.
In the month of June, we are now focussing on settlement stories and the journeys of former migrants and refugees.
Besides serving as a Social Cohesion Officer, I have recently started as an Ambassador of the 'My New Neighbour Project' with Amnesty International, Australia. This campaign is designed to promote multi-cultural people as Ambassadors sending a direct message to the government to change the current criteria of the community sponsorship program. We aim to bring refugees to Australia in a safer way so that no other family has to seek dangerous means by traveling on a boat, with 65 other people. Scarily, the boat usually has a capacity of just 20.
Besides my passion for social services, one of my goals is to reach the UN. I aim to bring community change by promoting leadership and world change among refugee youths. Young people possess qualities such as leadership, women empowerment, equality, equity, and social justice. They have the potential to become really powerful one day, provided they are provided with the right resources and support at the right age."
You Humanity pays respect and gratitude to Ali Al Battaat for going above and beyond to contribute towards Humanity.
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