Four Sri Lankan Australians receive Multicultural Awards for Excellence

The 2022 Victorian Multicultural Awards for Excellence recognise people and organisations who have fostered cross-cultural understanding.

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Four Sri Lankan-origin Australians have been recognised in the 2022 Victorian Multicultural Awards for Excellence (MAEs).

MAEs are coordinated by the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) which acts as the main link between communities and the government.

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These awards, now in their 21st year, formally recognise people and organisations who have fostered cross-cultural understanding and supported those with migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds to fully participate in all aspects of Victorian life.

STEM Sisters; Image Source: STEM Sisters
Image Source: STEM Sisters (Website)

STEM Sisters won the award in the Media category for its quarterly digital magazine, MAGNIFY.

STEM Sisters, founded in 2017, is home to a diverse group who are deeply committed to an intersectional approach to empowering women of colour in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields (STEM). 

Dr Ruwangi Fernando, the Founder and Director of STEM Sisters, has won many awards for her academic and professional contributions to the field of IT technologies. With over 16 years of experience, she aims to help culturally and linguistically diverse women in STEM through a range of initiatives.

MAGNIFY highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Australia. Further, it increases representation and recognition by portraying women scientists with diverse cultural identities.

Chandramarakkalage Anton Roshan Sampath Silva, popularly known as Roshan, won in the Sports category.

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Roshan is the founder of the All Saints Basketball and Netball Club, with 665 members representing 13 faith groups and 41 nationalities. He has developed more than 500 teams and coached more than 500 games.

Under Roshan’s leadership, the club has promoted cultural diversity and intercultural understanding within sports.

Image source: Narthanalaya Academy of Indian Music and Dance (Facebook)

Sivarubhini Kanagasabai, popularly known as Rubi, founder of Narthanalaya Academy of Indian Music and Dance was Highly Commended for her work in the field of Arts.

Rubi began her training in Bharatha Natyam at the tender age of six, under the guidance of Guru Smt Pamini Sithamparapillai and passed the fourth grade Bharatha Natyam examination, which was conducted by the North Ceylon Oriental Music Society. After migrating to Australia, Rubi continued the art of Bharatha Natyam under the tutelage of Smt Shanthi Rajendran and Prof. C. V. Chandrasekhar.

Rubi has taught Indian music, song, and dance to over 500 students for the last 20 years. She and her school have also been part of multicultural festivals, concerts, workshops and fundraising events.

Hashwina Vimalarajan was Highly Commended for her work in the field of Youth Leadership.

Born in Sri Lanka, raised in the Middle East and now living in Australia, Hashwina is passionate about environmental sustainability. She is also an advocate for environmental refugees, mental health, women’s rights and improving access for marginalised groups through various social justice initiatives.

Hashwina calls herself, ”a proud Tamil woman working in the field of research in sustainability.”

Her work spans stakeholder engagement, internal advisory work, project design, public speaking, facilitating leadership workshops and development work. She has been awarded for her work in the areas of policy and program development across various non-governmental and non-profit organizations.

Image source: Linda Dessau AC Governor of Victoria (VMC – Twitter)

The 2022 awards, sponsored by Commonwealth Bank, Jobs Victoria, and SBS, were presented by Linda Dessau AC Governor of Victoria to the recipients at a ceremony at Government House on Tuesday 25 October 2022.