Young achievers lead the way

Flinders students are being recognised for making a difference to communities as diverse as African refugees to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Faith Lawrence Abio and Anna Dowling, both studying Behavioural Science (Psychology) – and Anna also a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts) – have become finalists for the 2017 Channel 9 Young Achiever Awards.

Faith, pictured in her Croydon Kings women’s club windcheater (above), arrived in Australia as a refugee when she was nine years old, having spent most of her childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp.

She now volunteers for a role model for young refugees, drawing on her experiences to relate and empathise with them.

Using her passion for soccer, she is able to connect with disadvantaged young people and encourage them to get involved in sports as a diversion from youth offending and drug and alcohol abuse.

“I’m also interested in encouraging disability services to employ people from refugee backgrounds,” the 22-year-old says.

“This will be another way for refugees to feel more at home in their new country.”

Another finalist for the Multicultural Youth SA Spirit of Resilience Award is Jemal Mussa, also a refugee from Kenya who moved to Australia as a child.

Before commencing studies at Flinders, he founded the Oromo Youth Association and raised money to purchase soccer equipment for a refugee camp in Kenya, which led him to receive a 2016 Pride of Australia Award.

After a stint in the workforce, Jemal hopes to pursue further studies at Flinders Uni in the future.

Anna Dowling with SAHMRI colleagues Derik Lynch and Dr Janet Kelly who interviewed patients and staff at several hospitals and health services in SA and the NT as part of the incidence in stroke study.

Anna Dowling is a finalist for the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion Aboriginal Achievement Award.

In between her studies, she is working on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stroke research project based at SAHMRI with funding from the National Heart Foundation and Monash University.

Along with an outstanding co-presentation at the 2016 Aboriginal Health Research Showcase, her own artwork has been used for campaigns such as ‘Give up Smokes for Good’ and ‘Reconciliation SA Breakfast Auction’. She was awarded the 2016 Max Indigenous Art Award.

“I create art that respects and promotes Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives in the community,” says Anna, who works part time as a research assistant while studying as an external student this year.

“It’s really great to break up the week and get experience in a range of areas,” she says.  “The course has got some really interesting research components, including qualitative research techniques which incorporates talking with patients and getting their feedback on their experience of the health system.”

Elisabeth Beltrame who is enrolled for the Master of Speech Therapy at Flinders.

Another Flinders student Elisabeth Beltrame, who is studying a Master in Speech Therapy, was a finalist and took out this year’s Scouts SA Leadership Award.

Elisabeth has been a leader in Rotary International for more than eight years and facilitates the Rotary Youth Leadership and Enrichment Programs. In 2012 she established the Rotaract Club of Adelaide City for 18-30 year olds, and was the youngest president in the district last year. Elisabeth also does fundraising for youth and women in developing countries.

As well, Flinders student Mathew D’Onofrio is a finalist for this year’s  University Senior College Create Change Award.

The Bachelor of Nursing student, who founded and runs Nightlife First Aid as a specialised service to create safe partying environments for young people, has also been a finalist in the SA Australian of the Year awards and City of Unley Fish Tank (Amateur Shark Tank).

The winners of this year’s Young Achiever Awards were announced at a gala presentation dinner at the Hilton Adelaide on Friday 28 April. Prizes include $2,000 from Allianz Australia and a trophy for each ten award category will be given, and the overall Channel 9 Young Achiever of the Year will win an additional $2,000.

Now in its 30th year, the Young Achiever Awards acknowledge, encourage and promote the positive achievements, energies, talents and creativity of young South Australians up to and including 29 years of age. Follow the awards at the Channel 9 Young Achiever Awards Facebook page, or the website

Elisabeth Beltame can be found among the winners published online here.

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