I work as a cross cultural consultant.
I am fifth generation East African born, of Indian origin, raised in country Victoria – and this complexity alone gives rise to much of the work that I do, in the field of identity politics and representing diverse experiences in the mainstream.
My ‘mother tongue’ is Gujarati, though when I arrived in Australia as a four year old, I also spoke Swahili – which I have since lost. I’m putting that on my bucket list of ‘reclaimables’ though.
My career in this sector has spanned several decades, stemming from a passion for social justice imperatives and the arts.
When and where these two streams collide, I’m in my element. This has included working in community development, research, political advocacy and project management – culminating in the running of an independent Consultancy allowing me the scope to lead and develop project areas of interest.
Some of the highlights of my work have included curating the Melbourne content of the Faith Fashion Fusion exhibition for the Immigration Museum, presenting a TEDx Melbourne talk on defeating stereotypes, and recently entering and winning an IQ2 debate on the value of ‘political correctness’.
Whether I’m campaigning to end violence against women and children, ending xenophobic policy and Islamophobic discourse or educating students and businesses on the importance of diverse voices – there seems to be an endless array of social change that is needed.
As a Victorian I am grateful that the opportunities to effect change in promoting diversity and inclusion.
The flipside of this is that while we as a state may be ahead of others, there is considerable ground to cover in making inroads across political, corporate, community and media infrastructure.
I am hopeful that current and future generations of Muslims engaging at levels of influence in media, arts and policy will go some way in forging inclusive outcomes that benefit all minority voices.
For this reason I am continuously buoyed by the critical thinkers I meet across secondary schools in Victoria, who hold their leaders to account, demanding explanations for decisions they perceive to be unjust.
The confidence and clarity of their convictions inspires me every day,