Ariba Omar, 12, has been nominated in the ‘One to Watch’ category of the New South Wales Women of the Year Awards.
The Kooringal High School 7th grader started participating in fundraising events with his parents at Wagga Wagga eight years ago.
Ariba said it raised funds through the sale of merchandise for the Cancer Council and garage sales for the Country Women’s Association on special occasions such as Daffodil Day, Pink Ribbon Day and the Red Nose Day.
“I approach people and give them statistics about cancer. I tell them that their donation can help find a cure for cancer,” Ariba, who aspires to become an oncologist, told SBS Hindi.
She has twice donated her hair for the cause. Ariba volunteers on weekends without compromising on school and studies. She also collected gold coins at school on Mufti Day and Waffle Day.
“My principal and my teachers appreciate me for my volunteer work. Sometimes they even mention my name in the school newsletter,” Ariba said. She also received the nomination for Wagga’s Young Citizen of the Year Award this year.
Ariba draws its inspiration from its parents, who are clinical pharmacists. The family are from the eastern Indian state of Bihar, and they moved to Australia in 2011 when Ariba was two.
Ariba’s mother, Dr. Saba Nabi, who works for the south Sydney’s Eastern Local Health District has been nominated for the IABCA’s 2022 Business Leader of the Year award.
The Indian Australian Business Alliance (IABCA), established in 2014, aims to promote understanding between the peoples and institutions of Australia and India.
Melbourne-based lawyer Mannie Kaur Verma is 29 and a mother of two. She was recently appointed to the boards of Refugee Victoria and YWCA Australia.
But her journey to the boards of these nonprofit organizations has not been easy. Ms. Verma, who calls herself intersectional feministwas nine years old when his family moved from the northern Indian state of Punjab to Melbourne, Australia.
She said his father work as I amhas ad science teacher, but quit due to “racism”.
“It was hard for our parents to accommodate which made it difficult for us to socialize. As young children, we kind of experienced a identity crisis or U.S Didentifieris not suitable in the Australian way – for example, we weren’t allowed to have sleepovers – but because we emigrated from India at such a young age, we weren’t really Indian either” MrVerma said.
“We used to visit Gurudwara Sahib [the Sikh temple] every Sunday, and it was the best outing for us,” she fondly recalls.
Ms Verma said her father worked odd jobs to support the family. “I remember, I used to ask my parents why our grocery cart wasn’t full like the others,” she said.
Ms. Verma, who earned an off-campus law degree from Deakin University, married her lawyer husband at 21. She worked as a full-time paralegal for 12 years.
“As a young woman of color, I am passionate about advocating for and empowering local communities to address issues that affect young girls and generally people from diverse cultural backgrounds,” she said.
“I am passionate about advocating for policy change with an intersectional lens. We need people with lived experiences to voice their concerns. For example, migrant students who have been exploited by their employers,” said she added.
Ms. Verma also provides pro bono support to victims of domestic violence and refugees.
She has won or received nominations for several awards including Australasian Lawyer – Rising Star 2022, Women’s Weekly – Women of the Future Finalist 2021, Women in Law Awards – Thought Leader of the Year – Finalist 2021 and 7News Young Achievers – Leadership Award Semi – finalist 2021.
Other awards include Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 – Pro Bono Finalist 2021, Herald Sun – Top Legal Eagle 2021, Australia Day Study Tour Award and Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholar in his legal career spanning over seven years.
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