Two Bangladeshis, including BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s daughter Dr Shamaruh Mirza, have been nominated for the 2023 Australian of the Year Awards.
A total of 16 people have been nominated for the award in four categories–the ACT Australian of the Year, ACT Senior Australian of the Year, ACT Young Australian of the Year and ACT Local Hero.
Two Bangladeshis Shamaruh Mirza and Nazmul Hasan were named under Local Hero category.
About the nomination of Shamaruh Mirza, The Canberra Times in a report said, “Dr Shamaruh Mirza is a medical scientist, but she knows that feeling connected and having someone to talk to is as important as any medicine for good health.”
“Originally from Bangladesh, Dr Mirza was seeing a lot of women dealing with depression as she did volunteer work among culturally and linguistically diverse groups in Canberra.”
Wanting to give women of diverse backgrounds a safe space in which to discuss their challenges and gain confidence, Dr Mirza co-founded SiTara’s Story in 2017. It would be somewhere women could discuss stigmatised topics without fear, form support networks and empower themselves.
Dr Mirza run not-for-profit now organises workshops, talk shops, seminars and creative competitions that support CALD women to discuss mental health, disability, domestic violence, self-care and skill development. In 2021, the organisation was awarded the ACT Mental Health Month award.
About the nomination of Nazmul Hasan, The Canberra Times said, “When Canberra went into COVID-19 lockdown in August 2021, Nazmul Hasan realised many people would struggle to make ends meet. He decided to offer free food and essential items to those who needed them – no questions asked. With only a Facebook page and Google form, Mr Hasan provided thousands of free halal meals, groceries and even whitegoods.”
A passionate voice for unity across the multicultural Muslim and Australian communities, the 40-year-old organises interfaith and multicultural events in addition to his charitable work, it said.
Mr Hasan is a role model in serving community needs. He was honoured with the ACT Outstanding Excellence Award for Diversity and Inclusion 2022 and was the winner of the ABC Canberra Community Spirits Award 2022.