iEmpower E-Newsletter: November, 2018

iEmpower E-Newsletter: November, 2018

Dandenong Graduation

On Thursday 9 August, 22 young Afghan girls graduated from the Dandenong Youth Development and Empowerment Program (YDEP). The program is aimed at engaging, enabling and empowering young people to develop positive links with the Victorian justice system. The YDEP is a journey that is underpinned by a holistic and integrated approach to assist young people build their resilience to be a contributing member of the broader community.
The Graduation was hosted at Parliament House and we were kindly joined by Key Note Speakers, The Hon Gabrielle Williams MP and Sonia Vignjevic, Victorian Multicultural Commissioner.
Thank you to our wonderful speakers, our special guests that attended and especially the graduates of the program.

Community Engagement Day

Our CEO, Abeselom Nega recently attended a Community Engagement Day that was hosted by the County Court of Victoria on 19 October 2018. Chief Judge of the County Court of Victoria, Peter Kidd invited Abeselom along with other community and support service leaders.

The day was aimed to provide community leaders and members with a greater understanding about the complexities of sentencing people and the attitudes that communities have about dealing with offenders. The program provided attendees with the opportunity to ‘be the judge’ for the day and increase awareness and understanding about the court, and promote education among their communities about the court system to enable them to gain a better understanding about why decisions are made.

You can check out more about the day by watching the short video here

The SCRUBS Initiative

The Scrubs Project which trains young people in a Certificate III in Cleaning Operations is well underway and our first intake of students are almost set to graduate from the course that has been ran in collaboration with Victoria University. The students undertaking the course have demonstrated relentless commitment and dedication to completing the Certificate, despite the barriers they have had to overcome. We are very excited to see our first intake graduate from the course in December!

Youth Development & Empowerment Program – Geelong

Our YDEP in Geelong works with young girls from Geelong High School in years 8-12. We run the program once a week at The Fort and have a variety of guest speakers on each occasion. We recently had a session on crime prevention, knowing your rights and how to seek help from the government and law enforcement. We were joined by a number of bodies, including Youth Justice, Consumer Affairs Victoria, and Victoria Police.

RAINBOW Connections

We would like to share with you a wonderful initiative by the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health, Rainbow Connections.

Rainbow Connections is an online platform for young people from a multicultural background who are also part of the LGBTIQ communities. The platform enables young people to access support, upload creative and inspiring content, and provide young people an opportunity to share their creativity and find a sense of belonging.

Young people from these backgrounds have multiple identities and often more disadvantaged and excluded in society, we hope to promote inclusiveness and diversity by sharing this platform. Please share this with your networks and anyone you believe that could benefit from the platform.

Take a look here.

Strategic Plan and Annual Report

Over the last couple months, our team have been working very hard to produce our Strategic Plan and 2017-18 Annual Report.

We have recently finalised these documents and we are very excited to share them in the coming weeks. Our Strategic Plan details the exciting direction of iEmpower’s future and we are looking to expand our services and network. The Annual Report documents our hard work, achievements and growth over the past year.

Watch our space for more updates about when these documents will be available.

Our New & Improved Look

Our New & Improved Look
Our website has recently undergone an extensive makeover and we are excited to be able to share our new and improved website with you!
Please take a look at

iEmpower E-Newsletter: June, 2018

iEmpower E-Newsletter: June, 2018

I would like to start by saying how fantastic and productive the month of May was for the team at iEmpower. We hosted the ECCV 2018 State Conference and Gala Dinner in conjunction with ECCV, the outcomes of the event were remarkable, and I would like to thank everyone who participated in the event.

May 25th marked Africa Day, a day that commemorates the 1963 founding of the African Union (AU), this day is celebrated by Australia and many countries around the world. Our team at iEmpower celebrated Africa Day with numerous community organisations, diplomats, government organisations and African community leaders by attending the Africa Day Gala Dinner hosted by Africa Day Australia.

Over the last month our team at iEmpower have been working hard to submit numerous tender applications aimed at strengthening employment outcomes and pathways for young people, supporting inclusiveness in the community and building the capacity of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people in the community.

I am excited for what the next month holds for iEmpower!
Thank you for your ongoing support and generosity to our organisation, our work is made possible by your continued contributions.

Best wishes,
Abeselom Nega

CEO, iEmpower

News from May.

  • iEmpower became a Member of HealthWest Partnership
  • We hosted an iEmpower Iftar Dinner for our team. We gathered together to break the fast at Maghrib time (sunset)
  • Numerous member’s of our team have attended Iftar Dinner celebrations during the month of Ramadan
  • Our staff all undertook a refreshment in Case Management training
  • Scrubs became a Social Traders certified social enterprise
  • Our CEO, Abeselom Nega was admitted as a Fellow Member of the Institute of Managers and Leaders

ECCV in conjunction with iEmpower hosted the 2018 State Conference and Gala Dinner. Over two days, the conference explored diversity and inclusion in the workplace and opened up discussions about unemployment and underemployment of all CALD Victorians.

The Conference brought together over 500 people and 80 speakers, including our CEO, Abeselom Nega and Operations Manager, Richard Ryan.

Our CEO, Abeselom Nega discussing innovative employment pathways.

Parliament House Tour.

In May, a group of young Afghan women who are graduating from the Youth Development and Empowerment Program visited Parliament House to see where their Graduation Ceremony will be held in late July. The girls experienced a tour through Parliament House and lunch in the city afterwards.The girls were able to experience sitting in the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly houses.



Meet Ruby, Director of the iEmpower Board.

Ruby Heffernan is a lawyer with Maurice Blackburn lawyers. She holds qualifications in Law as well as Media.

Ruby is determined and community-minded. Ruby has previously volunteered at the Fitzroy Legal Service, the Broadmeadow’s Magistrate Court’s family violence service and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre ‘Fast track’ clinic. Ruby is currently Co-Chair of the Maurice Blackburn Cultural Diversity Events team and a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights Committee.
Ruby is passionate about equality and helping people to change their lives for the better and she is very excited to be a part of the change iEmpower is making.

Ruby joined the Board of iEmpower in February 2018.


WELCOME to our new interns.

In May we welcomed two new members to the iEmpower team, Saron and Muhsen.

Saron moved to Australia in 2014 from Eritrea and is studying her Certificate IV in Community Service and Alcohol and Drugs. She will be completing her internship in Employment with our Employment team. Saron enjoys being active, playing soccor, music and dancing.

Muhsen is completing his placement with iEmpower for his Certificate in IT and Graphic Design. Muhsen is also finishing year 12 at Mount Alexander College. He will be working with us over the next four months on numerous projects. Muhsen loves photography and design. We are excited to have him on board and share some of the projects he will be working on.


Sunday 17 June – Saturday 23 June
World Refugee Day – Saturday 20 June

The theme for this years Refugee Week is #WithRefugees. Refugee Week celebrates the achievements of refugees and the contributions they make to Australian society. It is also an opportunity to welcome them and commemorate the adversities they have overcome.

Refugee Week Events


Shaista has been a participant in the iEmpower Youth Development and Empowerment Program for the past year and is graduating from the program in July. Shaista has demonstrated unique leadership qualities in the time we have been engaged with her and we are very proud to share her paper cutting designs with you.

About Shaista:

Shaista came to Australia in 2014 from Afghanistan and has been creating paper cutting designs ever since. She is very passionate about paper cutting and creates her own unique designs. She loves to be artistic and it is her ultimate goal to pursue her passion and become a designer.

Papercutting is the art of paper designs that has evolved uniquely all over the world to adapt to different cultural styles. All designs are cut from a single sheet of paper as opposed to multiple adjoining sheets as in a collage. All designs are done by hand and all in various sizes.

If you are interested in purchasing or having some designs created, you can contact Shaista on 0470643925


In May Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne, Sally Capp visited our office to discuss the various issues affecting the African-Australian community in Melbourne. Sally met with two African-Australian community leaders and the team at iEmpower to hear first hand the the issues and experiences of people in the community.
Sally was officially sworn in as Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne on 23 May 2018.
We look forward to working with her and making Melbourne a stronger and more inclusive city.

From the left: CEO, Abeselom Nega, Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, Community Leaders Maruua Salad and Arshi, and Marketing Manager and Community Leader, Ahmed Dini.

Whats happening in June.

  • Graduation Ceremony for the Wodonga Youth Development and Empowerment Program
  • The iEmpower team are all undertaking their First Aid Training in preparation for our Youth Hub to open until 8pm
  • Our new website will be launching mid June, make sure you check it out!
  • Refugee Week and World Refugee Day
  • Crime Prevention and Communities Conference, 7-8 June – Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre –


iEmpower E-Newsletter: April, 2018

iEmpower E-Newsletter: April, 2018

A Message From Our CEO and Founder

Welcome to iEmpower’s first E newsletter!

I am very thankful and privileged to have been given the opportunity and responsibility to be a part of what is almost, a decade old oragnisation. As the Founder of iEmpower, this organisation is very close to my heart and driven by the vision and determination to support as many vulnerable young people as possible.

Coming to Australia myself as a refugee from Ethiopia in the late 1980’s and having experienced the hardships and tragedies of civil war and refugee camps, I very well understand the importance of supporting and building the capacity of culturally and linguistically diverse young people.

When I founded iEmpower, I had a simple vision, to unleash the potential of refugee youth in a diverse and cohesive society. Over the years, this vision has grown and whilst there have been many achievements and we have made a difference to many lives, there is still a long way to go.

Our team at iEmpower is small and diverse, and together we are unleashing the potential of vulnerable young people in Victoria. Thank you for your ongoing support and generosity to iEmpower, our work is made possible by your continued contributions.

Abeselom Nega
CEO, iEmpower

News from March

Why we celebrated Harmony Day:

On Harmony Day, we celebrate the cultural diversity of Australia. the key message of Harmony Day is everyone belongs. Harmony Day is also the United Nations International Day of Racial Discrimination.

Facts about cultural diversity in Australia:

  • 1 in 4 Australians were born overseas
  • In 2013, overseas migration represented 60% of Australia’s growth population
  • Collectively, Australia speaks over 200 languages
  • Since 1945, over 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia

Some of the team at iEmpower celebrating Harmony Day.

The Melbourne Employment Forum (MEF) Industry Awards

The MEF Industry Awards Gala Dinner was an event to celebrate and honor industry champions. The night also recognized the achievement of African Australian job seekers and the tremendous efforts of community leaders.

The awards that iEmpower and our team received were:
Certificate of Excellence, iEmpower Youth Inc for being an outstanding community partner to Melbourne Employment Forum
Certificate of Recognition, iEmpower Youth Inc in recognition of your support as a community partner
Certificate of Excellence, Abeselom Nega for outstanding leadership in employment services to the Melbourne Employment Forum
Certificate of Excellence, Ahmed Dini for outstanding leadership in employment services to the Melbourne Employment Forum

CEO, Abeselom Nega & Roberto Colanzi, iEmpower Chaiperson at the MEF Industry Awards Night.



Meet our Chairperson, Roberto Colanzi

Roberto is a highly experienced and strategy and policy executive and industry analyst. His range of skills and experience include: industry, economic and marketing analysis; finance and strategic systems analysis; project management and planning; and successfully lobbying government on retail taxation matters and trade issues.

Throughout his career his has worked in and advised a number of industries such as automotive distribution, architecture and commercial construction, accounting and commerce, retail, and electronic commerce.

He has worked in private management consulting practice, and for major industry associations.



ECCV 2018 State Conference

Thursday May 18 – Friday May 18 2018
Register at

The 2018 Conference will examine and demonstrate how diversity and inclusion can meet the three major challenges of the future automation, globalisation and collaborative flexible economy that values relationships supported by digitalisation. Over two days, their will be over 500 delegates and 80 speakers coming together to discuss issues of unemployment of Victorians from culturally diverse backgrounds.


Welcome to our new Counselor, Michael Nowara

Michael is the passionate and engaging Counselor at iEmpower. Michael joined the team at iEmpower in March 2018 and has engaged with many clients in his time here. Michael has a range of passions, he is very passionate about stand-up comedy, however he found his calling in helping others. Nothing makes him happier than to see a client overcome their personal hurdles, and the positive changes they have made to their own lives. Michael studied a Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours at La Trobe University, and completed his Master of Professional Psychology at Monash University.

In his spare time, he enjoys playing futsal, cooking, live music, meeting new people and catching up with old friends. Michael hopes that he is able to forge long and fulfilling relationships with his clients at iEmpower and hopes to help as many people as he can along the way.


Whats happening in May

  • ECCV 2018 State Conference and Gala Dinner
  • Graduating ceremony for the Youth Development and Empowerment Program – 22 young Afghan women will graduate from this program after participating over the past year
  • Website development – we have a new website underway and hope to have it up and running in May
  • Scrubs site tour and information session – the Scrubs participants will be doing their first site visit to the Victoria University Sunshine Campus to learn more about their upcoming course