Past Award Nominees and Recipients
Young Australian of the Year
2018 WA Young Australian of the Year Nominee
Rahila HaidaryState: Western Australia
Refugee and human rights advocate
As a small child growing up in Afghanistan, Rahila Haidary was eager to attend school but had to dress as a boy to gain entry. Subsequent threats against her family forced Rahila and her parents to flee their homeland. After many years of displacement and distress, Rahila arrived in Australia as a refugee. Since then, Rahila has become an outstanding young leader who has generously shared her own stories, and used her rich intellectual capital to promote understanding of the refugee experience, strengthen cross cultural empathy, and advocate for gender equality and human rights. A UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador, Rahila has played a significant role in documentaries, including ‘Is Australia Racist?’, to challenge discrimination and existing attitudes to refugees. She is also a volunteer and storyteller with Behind the Wire, an oral history project that documents the stories of people held in Australian mandatory immigration detention. A qualified interpreter, Rahila is a deeply committed to her work enhancing community cohesion and human rights.