Hanisha Sharma-Luital, a former refugee from Bhutan, has become the youngest person at the age 19 to be honored with the prestigious ‘Ambassador Award at the Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence 2015’ amidst a special ceremony held in Melbourne on December 3, 2015.
Luital was awarded for committing her time to numerous multicultural projects since her arrival in Australia in 2003 from Bhutan. She also served as a member of the Multi-Faith Multicultural Youth Network (MMYN) run by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship.
She is the youngest and first Bhutanese-Australian lifeguard, and also the youngest representative to the Youth Parliament in Victoria for 2012.
According to our Melbourne correspondent, Linda Dessau AM, the Governor of Victoria, presented various awards to 75 recipients for their outstanding contributions to multicultural communities belonging to different 23 cultural backgrounds.
The Victoria government has been recognizing persons with outstanding and exemplary leadership and contributions in the community with this award annually for the last 14 years.
Arrived in 2003 at the age of seven from Bhutan, Luital has started volunteering in cultural programs organised by various ethnic communities.
While she was a student majoring in International Relations from the Latrobe University and also working at the Coburg Leisure Centre, Luital became the youngest and first Bhutanese refugee lifeguard at 17 followed by earning another cap as a swimming instructor when she turned 19.
Having served as the first female Australian Football League (AFL) multicultural community ambassador from the Bhutanese Community, Luital now proudly heads the Help-Himalayan Youth Foundation, a not-for-profit community organisation run jointly by Bhutanese, Karen and Nepalese youths.
When the Australian Government celebrated 2015 Refugee Week exclusively dedicating to the successful resettlement of 100,000 Bhutanese refugees earlier in June, Luital also accepted a special invitation of Peter Dutton, Minister for Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), and entertained everyone with a typical Bhutanese dance in Parliament House Canberra.
As the youngest member, she represented YMCA to the Youth Parliament in Victoria in 2012. She has also served in the Office of the Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship (OMAC) through MMYN for two years. Further, as a dedicated young volunteer, she also raised a significant amount of donations for Oak Tree Foundation, and earthquake victims in Nepal.
Luital’s social involvement has not only helped her achieved various platforms, but also inspired her sister, Sonia, to render her volunteerism to Nepal as she is presently planning a trip to Kathmandu, where she would work as a volunteer to support earthquake victims from the Dalit communities through INHURED International.
Luital has also took part in dozens of multicultural festivals organized by various ethnic communities, numerous social initiatives and fundraising events, and UNHCR-Annual Tripartite Consultation on Resettlement that was held in 2012 in Melbourne.