Blacktown’s Woman of the Year
Published on 08 March 2018
Sudanese refugee, international model and masters’ degree candidate Anyier Youl of Blacktown has been named the 2018 Blacktown Woman of the Year.
Ms Youl, currently studying for a Masters of International Development in Refugees and Displacement at the University of NSW, works as a Youth Transition Support Worker with the Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC) in Parramatta.
She also has had success as a model, and is the first African woman to be featured on the cover of Lito Magazine.
“Anyier is a true product of the multicultural city of Blacktown,” Blacktown City Mayor, Stephen Bali MP said.
“Her combination of talents and community work made an indelible impression on the award judges,” he said.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is marked globally on 8 March each year to highlight women’s equality worldwide.
In 2017 Blacktown City Council established a Women’s Advisory Committee to provide advice on issues relevant to women.
Chairperson of the Women’s Advisory Committee, Councillor Julie Griffiths, said culturally diverse committee aims to further highlight the crucial role women play in Blacktown City.
“We are a dynamic group of 20 women committed to providing a forum where issues and needs of women can be raised and discussed,” she said.
“It’s with great pleasure that we present Anyier Youl with this award and to recognise the skills and progressive movements the nominees have achieved.”
Blacktown City Council’s theme for this year’s event, leave no woman behind, is an opportunity to recognise the importance of women playing significant roles within our city.
“Blacktown’s diverse multicultural make up, combined with its ability to bring together women from political, business, government and professional backgrounds makes it a powerful place for women of purpose,” Mayor Bali said.
“Blacktown City Council’s Woman of the Year Award aims to help recognise and celebrate the achievements and contribution woman make to the local community.”
“I congratulate Anyier Youl and thank all of the nominees for their ongoing contribution and outstanding work in the community,” he said.
Blacktown resident Anyier was born in a refugee camp in Kenya and is of South Sudanese descent. After losing both her parents in the Sudanese Civil war, she was raised by an aunt until she moved to Australia with her cousins when 10 years old. She completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Development Studies, Sociology and Anthropology and is now studying for a Masters of International Development in Refugees & Displacement at UNSW.
In 2010 Anyier was one of 8 young people selected to represent Football United at FIFA's Football Festival for Hope at the World Cup in South Africa and she relished this opportunity to motivate and inspire other young people. As a Hope team member, she competed in the football tournament and was selected to attend leadership development workshops with young people from 32 countries across the globe.
Anyier has used her advocacy skills in schools to promote Refugee Week, Human Rights Week, Youth Week and Harmony Day. Her role as a Football United youth leader and Ambassador led to her being granted the inaugural Football United UNSW scholarship award. She now facilitates sessions on advocacy and social responsibility as part of their Creating Chances education program. It is an interactive workshop which enables young people to identify issues in their communities and develop creative strategies and campaigns to raise awareness or contribute to solving the issue.
She has also made a name in the international beauty and fashion world, wining Miss Grand South Sudan at Miss Grand International 2016 and Miss Supranational Africa in 2017. This year, she will host her own beauty pageant, Miss Sahara.
“To be given this award on International Women’s Day is very special … just being nominated was very special to me and to be able to encourage so many people is an honour," Anyier said.
“It never kicked in that the job that I do and what I do was recognised elsewhere, so when I got the phone call about the nomination it was a surprise.
“It gave me the motivation to really try to do well in the community and be the voice of young people and of refugees and [those from] migrant backgrounds who have moved to Australia with no English and no educational background.
“To see the finalists that were nominated and to be the youngest one, I’m happy: it gives me the courage to do more and to inspire people.”
Communications Unit, Blacktown City Council
Alan Gale – 9389 6409
Martha Azzi – 9839 5926
(phones divert to mobiles after hours)