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Human Appeal International Australia hosted its 10th Annual Year 12 Muslim Achievement Awards in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane over the weekend. Year 12 students who achieved an ATAR score or equivalent of 90% or more in 2016 were invited to register for the awards.

Various respected members of the community, school principals, politicians and businesses attended ceremonies in the four cities. Anincredible one hundred and eighty-nine recipients, fifty-four more than last year, were honoured for their hard work and awarded certificates of recognition, tablet-notebooks and various other prizes.

The ceremony in Sydney awarded a total of one-hundred and two recipients (which included two from Queensland who are currently studying in Sydney). The event was co-MC’d by Aya Al-Salti, a previous award recipient and Omar Al-Jamal, a Leadership Umrah Tour graduate. Human Appeal Australia’s Director, Bashar Al-Jamal welcomed guests and explained that: “Investing in education is an important strategy towards empowering communities.” Various speeches were given by The Hon. Tony Burke MP, The Hon. Jihad Dib MP, Shadow Minister for Education NSW, Dr Mohammad Al-Nakeeb from Al-Faisal College and Dalya Ayoub, a sponsor from Life Matters. Award recipient Muhammad Yaseen spoke passionately about the need to pursue both career and life success. Raihan Hossain spoke about his participation in Human Appeal’s 2017 Aspiring Leaders Umrah Tour and the emotional experience of distributing much needed aid to Syrian refugees in Jordan. Dr Zac Matthews briefly outlined Human Appeal’s Leadership Alumni and invited recipients to take advantage of the mentoring and development opportunities it provides.

In Melbourne, seventy-three recipients were awarded. Sheikh Rabih Baytie, Human Appeal’s Melbourne Branch Manager welcomed guests and acknowledged the important role that parents and guardians played in the achievements of their children. He highlighted that more than five hundred students were awarded in Melbourne since its inception ten years ago. Other speakers included The Hon. Peter Khalil MP, Federal Member for Wills; Senator Richard Di Natale, leader of the Australian Greens party; The Hon. Inga Peulich, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Shadow Minister for Scrutiny of Government; Cr Samantha Ratnam, Deputy Mayor of Moreland City Council; Nada Kalam from the Islamic Council of Victoria and Rifat Islam from BAILP. Award recipients Serra Mohamed and Mohammad Habbal both delivered eloquent speeches about achievement and emphasising that continuing education must be life-long.

In Adelaide, seven students were similarly awarded. Branch Manager of Human Appeal’s Adelaide office, Ali Kadir welcomed guests and highlighted the organisation’s goal of encouraging and motivating outstanding achievement that will benefit the country. Justin Hanson MLC, representing the Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill and also representing the Minister of Education, Susan Close MP, spoke on the night. Other speakers included Libby Hotham, program director for the school of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia; Shihab Siddiquee, founder and director of Sace Simplified, a high level student tutoring organisation; Betty Livaditis, Office Manager and Zoi Papafilopoulos JP, Electorate Assistant to Tom Koutsantonis MP, Member for West Torrens and Imam Abdusalam Alim from Masjid Abu Bakr. Hussein Mahmud, a graduate of the 2017 Leadership Umrah Tour spoke emotionally about his participation in the nineteen-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and UAE.

With the ongoing expansion of the awards program, Brisbane hosted its first ceremony honouring seven recipients. Branch Manager of Human Appeal’s Adelaide office, Imam Akram Buksh welcomed guests and spoke of the importance of education and recognising both outstanding effort as well as achievement. The event was MC’d by Ali Rane, a graduate of the Aspiring Leaders Umrah Tour and together with Furqan Ahmed, they reflected on their experiences participating in the once-in-a-lifetime tour. Fahim Khondaker from the Islamic Council of Queensland spoke with enthusiasm about the future and the need for entrepreneurship by young people.  Other speakers included Habib Jamal from the Islamic Society of Gold Coast and Dr Zac Matthews. Three videos were shown including Human Appeal’s 25th Anniversary, Leadership Umrah Tour 2017 and Winter Aid Distribution 2017.

Overall, the four separate ceremonies held over one weekend in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, were a fantastic opportunity for parents and communities to celebrate with joy in the proud achievements of these amazing 189 individuals. “Human Appeal International Australia congratulates the award recipients as well as all the year 12 students of 2016 who put in their best efforts. A special note of thanks goes to the generous businesses and organisations that sponsored the 10th Annual Year 12 Muslim Achievement Awards of 2017,” said Mr Bashar Al-Jamal.

Human Appeal International Australia

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