ASRC Speakers Program

Booking a speaker with lived experience of seeking asylum is possible through the ASRC.
Our speakers are available in Adelaide, Hobart and Melbourne and can join your event to share their experiences and ways that you can advocate for refugee rights

The ASRC is committed to empowering and elevating the voices of people with lived experience of seeking asylum and refugees. Through the Speakers Program, the ASRC provides a platform for people to tell their stories, in their own words, and to advocate for change.
The ASRC’s speakers are advocates leading the discussion on human rights, multiculturalism and refugee issues.
You can hire speakers from the program for a speaking engagement at your community, business, organisation or private event.
The ASRC provides support to refugee speakers through staff time and training. Speakers are paid 100% of the booking fee directly from the booking organisations.
Fill in the form to request a speaker, and the ASRC team will contact you with some options.


John has lived experience of being a refugee and person seeking asylum. John has graduated with a Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Swinburn University and has recently founded a consulting business Moshkil Gusha Business & Consulting Services to support culturally and linguistically diverse entrepreneurs, small and micro enterprises and startups.
He is now a personal, business and life coach for others through Ikigai Coaching, another company he has established.
John also has over a decade’s experience in real estate sales and marketing via another company of his: JG Buyers Agent.
John is a change-maker. He has previously run for local and state parliament on issues, including human rights, social justice and climate change. He has a keen interest in learning different languages, history research and reading. He is currently the co-founder of a research platform on the history of Afghanistan.

Abeny Monyteng Ring Mayol is a South Sudanese woman who first settled in Adelaide, South Australia in 2011, and moved to Western Sydney in 2017 and currently resides in Brimbank Area.
She lived in Kakuma refugee camp in the Turkana district and Nairobi, Kenya where she learned how to read and write.
Abeny completed a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning with Honours from the University of South Australia and a Graduate Certificate in Urban Design at the University of Sydney.
She worked as a planner for 3 years for a local government organisation in Southwestern Sydney before taking a job as a Cultural Educator at youth justice in Melbourne, Victoria during covid. Abeny is currently working as a town planner for EPA.
Abeny is also a member of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement and is published in Sweatshop Women volume 2 and Sweatshop in the redroom. Abeny considers herself a storyteller and believes every child should have access to education regardless of their gender, family, or financial status.

Marziyah was born in the beautiful and culturally rich land of Afghanistan. Fleeing her homeland at less than a year old, her journey led her through various countries before finding refuge in Australia in 2015.
The lack of justice for people seeking asylum in the previous country of her residence has fuelled her determination to become a lawyer. Marziyah is driven by a desire to advocate for those who cannot raise their voices due to societal discrimination. Having experienced the challenges of resettlement, Marziah has now dedicated herself to helping others through working at a non-profit and volunteering with an Afghan-Australian community organisation in Victoria.
Her commitment to justice and community support extends beyond her professional and academic pursuits. Witnessing the tragic events in Afghanistan in August 2021, Marziyah felt compelled to contribute to the wellbeing of other people from Afghanistan. Through volunteering with a community organisation, she initiated efforts to assist new arrivals by collecting and delivering clothing. Her goal is to foster a world where everyone, irrespective of their religion, cultural background, gender, or skin colour, lives in harmony and respects one another’s differences. Marziayh is passionate about creating a safe and peaceful global community and continues to strive towards that vision while studying law full-time, working, and volunteering.

Abdul has offered hope and happiness to socially isolated people seeking asylum by founding the All Nations Cricket Team, a powerful community sports initiative that provides the opportunity for people to build relationships and thrive.

“We follow the philosophy, ‘Don’t Give Up Give Back!’ and both my wife Lubna and I went from ‘Victim to Victor!’”.

Abdul and his wife Lubna, are celebrating volunteering with both the ASRC & The Monash Health Community Centre for 5 years.
Abdul will again be representing Victoria for the Cricket NSW & Sydney Thunder partnership during Refugee Week on 20th June, 2021.

Mursal Sadat is one of the Afghanistan Women’s National Soccer team players who came to Australia during the country’s evacuation in 2021.
Raised in Kabul, Mursal received a diploma in graphic design from the city’s Institute of Fine Arts. At the age of 15, she recognised the importance of motivating others and began delivering speeches for UNICEF.
After relocating in Melbourne, Mursal completed the Community Advocacy and Power program with ASRC. In addition, she participated in “A Seat at the Table” a six-month long leadership program with CMY in Victoria. Mursal’s focus is on women and refugees’ rights in both Australia and her Afghanistan homeland. She is currently working with Australia for UNHCR as a fundraiser and is committed to creating positive change for oppressed women living under Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, using her personal experience in speaking engagements to highlight their plight.
Alongside her advocacy work, Mursal’s love of sport continues to inform her career path. She currently plays soccer for AWT Melbourne Victory and is beginning studies in business and sports management with an aim to one day enter the world of politics – using her sport and leadership skills to serve the community.

Mehdi is a former Hazara refugee, public speaker, and human right activist. He started his journey after arriving in Australia on a lackey broken boat as an unaccompanied minor. He loves to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from his mistakes/failures. Early on in life, Mehdi learned the art of dealing with failure and rejection. According to neuroscientists, 95% of our decisions are based on feelings and emotions. That’s why, early on he changed his behavior to change how he feels. The mantra which worked is “Do it or don’t, there is no try”.
Before arriving in Australia, Mehdi experienced ‘stateless’ and lived in “survival mode” where surviving through the day and night in one piece was the only goal. After arriving in Australia, Mehdi felt a strong connection within the community as in a word of Aristotle, “Do good, feel good”. he sought to inspire others with his own dramatic life narrative, encouraging them to push beyond comfort zones and foster mental resilience.
Despite challenges, Mehdi earned a Biomedical Engineering degree and launched a podcast channel, dedicated to sharing untold stories that contribute to collective learning. With a belief in the power of education and shared experiences, Mehdi envisions a world where mutual learning and understanding create a better place for all.

Parisa Sekandari is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international relations at Monash University, Australia, with a dedicated focus on gender equality and women’s education. Her academic journey is enriched by her active involvement in humanitarian and advocacy work.
She is a key member of the Community for Humanity (C4H), a non-profit organization committed to serving refugees in Australia.
In addition to her work with refugees, she plays a vital role within ‘Amplify Afghan Women’ an initiative aimed at enhancing educational opportunities for Afghan women.
This role underscores her dedication to empowering women through education, especially in challenging socio-political environments. Her past role as a lecturer at Herat University’s Faculty of Political Science and her current engagement at Monash University reflect her commitment to education and social advocacy.

I’m Javid Bahonar, a proud Hazara originally from Afghanistan. My life, deeply intertwined with my heritage, has predominantly been spent as a refugee in Pakistan and India. In August 2021, amid Afghanistan’s political chaos, I sought a fresh start in Australia, a place of new opportunities and hopes.
Presently, I’m making significant contributions to Australia’s infrastructure development, serving as a cost controller for the North East Link project. This role not only showcases my professional expertise but also mirrors my resilient journey. Concurrently, I’m advancing my education with a diploma in project management, driven by a lifelong dedication to learning and career growth.
My work offers both fulfilling challenges and vast opportunities for development. Beyond my career, I engage in social ventures, including public speaking and community events, aiming to leave a positive mark on society. These pursuits are a tribute to my Hazara roots and my experiences as a refugee.
Apart from my professional and social engagements, I find joy and relief in hiking and camping. These hobbies connect me to nature and provide a sense of peace and adventure. I aspire to travel the globe one day, eager to immerse myself in the rich tapestry of the world’s cultures, languages, and traditions.
My story is one of perseverance and adaptability, shaped by life’s unpredictable twists and turns. With a heart full of compassion and a commitment to forging a brighter future, I face new opportunities with unwavering determination and optimism.


Idrissa is originally from Sierra Leone and moved to Australia in 2018 having fled persecution from his home country. He was a former high school teacher.
He has attained a certificate IV in Disability and Diploma of community service and case management respectively at TAFE NSW.
He has worked with the Refugee Council of Australia, the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, sharing his refugee story with school and community groups across Sydney.
Idrissa was one of the successful applicants selected to participate in the prestigious 2021 Judith Neilson Community Voices Media Training programme.


Fida is a dedicated social worker, recognised as a defender of human rights and social justice. His commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion has been a driving force throughout his career.
Currently, Fida is working in the settlement sector, drawing from his extensive experiences and contributions across various fields, including migration law, the high school system, and community organisations.
Fida dedicates his time and efforts to assisting individuals and communities in adapting to new environments. With a compassionate approach, he strives to create spaces that celebrate differences, empower marginalised voices, and work to dismantle barriers while promoting equality. Outside of his professional life, Fida enjoys hiking, scuba diving, and meeting people from diverse backgrounds.


Gulima Wahidi is a dedicated lawyer and a Social Justice & Human Rights Advocate whose roots trace back to her father’s asylum journey from Afghanistan in 2000. Her family successfully reunited in Australia in 2005. A 2020 graduate of the University of Adelaide with a double degree in Law and International Studies, Gulima has gained experience as a lawyer, having served in both government and private practice. Presently, she practices as a Commercial Lawyer at a Private Law Firm. Beyond her legal role, Gulima is a staunch advocate for social justice, specifically concentrating on the rights of refugees and individuals seeking asylum. Her commitment is evident through active participation in impactful campaigns, notably contributing to the ASRC’s digital campaign against the refugee ban bill and the Refugee Council’s initiatives on the right to family reunion. Recognition of her work has been featured in esteemed publications like the Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian.
With a forward-looking vision for global impact, Gulima is committed to continuing her journey of aiding vulnerable populations. Her unwavering dedication to social justice positions her as a force for positive change in the world.


Nagham came to Australia 15 years ago with her two daughters from Iraq. Nagham completed her engineering degree from Baghdad and was teaching at a university there. Like most refugees, the settlement process in a new country was challenging but her language proficiency helped her create new connections and made the resettlement process a bit easier. Her professional journey has been diverse, spanning roles as a volunteer, teaching aid, interpreter, and program coordinator. Presently, Nagham serves as a bilingual support worker in aged care while simultaneously managing a private catering business. Her commitment extends beyond professional endeavours, as she actively engages in volunteering within the community, providing support to individuals from diverse backgrounds, empowering them to pursue their goals, and instilling a resilient mindset. Driven by a profound passion for helping others, Nagham’s impactful community involvement reflects her dedication to fostering inclusivity and encouraging individuals to persevere in the face of challenges, embodying a spirit of resilience and support.