As a Y NSW and Camden Council Young Leader he was a joint recipient of the Voice Award at the NSW Children’s Week Awards and was elected Youth Premier of the 2019 Y NSW Youth Parliament, making history as the first Aboriginal Youth Premier for NSW.
Hamani entered Youth Parliament with a burning desire to effect change. A young, gay, Wiradjuri, Goreng Goreng and Tongan man, Hamani has endured racism and homophobia, and wanted to support others with similar experiences by introducing legislation that would empower and educate.
"As a proud Aboriginal man, I wanted to see change happen within our curriculum. I had contacts with NESA (National Education Standards Australia) and found out they were revamping the Aboriginal Studies curriculum as it hadn’t changed since 2003."
Hamani put forward a proposal for a bill that would create Aboriginal educational advisory boards in each school to be passed by the Youth Parliament.
"It would tackle racism, and also get people [who are Aboriginal but don't openly identify that way] to speak out."
"It was pretty good to know I’ve been a part of that change."
With skills developed through Youth Parliament and Young Leaders, Hamani was able to apply for other positions.
“I applied for a role with the Advocate for Children and Young People and was successful and became part of a Youth Advisory Council, advising the Government on things like Youth Week.
“If it wasn’t for Young Leaders, I wouldn’t know how to complete risk assessments, organise events and utilise my networks.”
As a volunteer with the Y’s Youth Action Team, Hamani had some major successes such as securing funding to deliver a major youth event.
"One of our main moments was getting funding from Family and Community Services to put on a large-scale multicultural event in Camden, which, amongst many other things, involved booking artists."
The festival gave young people the opportunity to come together in a safe and inclusive environment, to access information and enjoy live music and cultural activities.
Being part of a small team yet creating such a large event made Hamani realise that anything is possible.
"From something so small - from being a participant - grew to something so big."
Hamani is now inspiring and empowering other young people at the Y Space in Westfield Parramatta.
“The most satisfying thing is seeing the range of young people that walk in; LGBTQI+, Pacific Islanders - all walks of life, and seeing them all co-exist and work together without having conflicts, within one space.”
“This can be a safe space for everybody and that’s what I love - seeing someone who isn’t doing too well and seeing them walk out of here feeling much better.”
Hamani continues to volunteer as part of the Y NSW’s Youth Action Team and is also the Y’s Reconciliation Action Plan Ambassador.
Hamani's empowering experience of participating in the Y NSW’s youth programs has contributed to his optimistic outlook.
“We’re the masters of our own destiny.”
“We choose where we want to go and if someone doesn’t agree with it, push it aside.”
“Every faded opportunity opens a bigger one.”
Expressions of Interest for the 2021 NSW Youth Parliament close on March 12. Visit Youth Parliament for more information. For more information on Young Leaders and Y Spaces click here.
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