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Community Centre
Partnership Proposal
HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA2
Theirs is a story at home in the mythology of Ghengis
Khan marauding through mountain plains on horse
back just as it is in the delicacy of a snow flake
described by Rumi.
It’s a story found at the cross roads of ancient trade
routes and the meeting of cultures along the indelible
Silk Road, each leaving its imprint on a people grounded
in the unforgiving elements of the mountainous
Hazarajat region in Afghanistan’s central highlands.
The Hazara people are no strangers to change and
adapting to new influences and places while retaining
their cherished core. Now mostly followers of Islam, in
earlier times Hazara people carved into the mountainside
the breathtaking ‘Buddhas of Bamiyan’, one of the true
archaeological wonders of the world, sadly destroyed
by the Taliban in 2001.
There’s an undeniable parallel between the destruction
of the Buddhas and the situation Hazara people now face.
The minority group have faced persecution for centuries,
but the situation has worsened steadily since the seeds of
the Taliban were first sown during the prolonged fight to
evict Soviet forces from Afghanistan during the 1980s.
Since then, Hazara people have been caught up in
a palpable fight for survival that in more recent times
has spilled over to neighbouring Pakistan; home to
a significant Hazara diaspora. Thousands of Hazara
people have since found safety in countries around the
globe, with Australia now home to the world’s fourth
largest Hazara community.
Hazara people are renowned for their will to survive
despite the odds, and for their indomitable spirit; their
hearts remain open, pure and hopeful despite centuries
of oppression.
It’s a spirit that Queensland is now fortunate to behold.
Community Centre Partnership Proposal 3
HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA4
A Place to Call Home
Part of the mission of the Hazara community in South East
Queensland is extending welcome and support to more
recent arrivals through hosting regular social gatherings.
Hazara Association of Australia President, Mr Ali Karimi,
says that as the community continues to grow, so too
does the popularity of the gatherings which are regularly
attracting over 200 people.
The gatherings are now held in parks, as the houses
that hosted them can no longer hold the large number
of participants, but the Association are eager to establish
a community centre that will meet their needs.
Having a space to facilitate this work is integral to building
a strong community and forging important connections
with other Australians.
As Mr Karimi describes, these meetings are critical for
people because they “bring the community out of isolation”
and encourage links with the broader community.
Community gatherings give newly arrived people a chance
to recharge, make connections and support one another
during their respective settlement journeys. Indeed,
Mr Karimi thinks these community gatherings are probably
saving public funds by warding off depression and mental
health issues amongst some of the community’s most
vulnerable, especially older men and women who are at
risk of depression.
The Hazara community welcomes and
encourages people to invite their
friends and neighbours to its
gatherings - especially the
broader community - as
a great way to build cultural
bridges and understanding.
It also helps community
members form networks
that forge a sense of
belonging and leads to
wider benefits – such as social
invitations, job opportunities and
neighbourly support.
The challenge for the Hazara Association of Australia now
is to further empower this important work through the
establishment of a community centre with which they
can continue to support newly arrived people, and build
on this positive work by establishing sporting and
recreational activities that encourage social cohesion
and cultural exchange.
The Hazara community in Australia
Survivors of all kinds survive on account of their wits,
creativity and capacity to adapt to difficult circumstances.
For Hazara people, centuries of uncertainty, turmoil and
forced migration have written the above traits into their
very cultural DNA.
Repeatedly having to start anew on terms outside their
own control has equipped the Hazara people with a unique
entrepreneurship that has enabled them to plant roots and
prosper wherever in the world they’ve found themselves.
In a country in desperate need of entrepreneurial
spirit, Hazara people are already helping add new vigour
to the Queensland economy through a variety of small
business ventures.
Their children, eager to make the most of an education
many of their parents were denied, are excelling
academically and now occupy nearly every profession
with decades of positive output ahead of them.
It’s hard to believe how far they’ve come, since nearly
all have come to Australia only in the last ten to fifteen
years, many arriving with little more than the shirts
on their backs.
To be sure, settlement is a long journey for new and
emerging communities, and the Hazara community has
a long road ahead of it. But if the last decade is any
indication, at some point in the not-too-distant future,
we will all look to the Hazara community as an integral part
of Australian society that we simply could not live without.
These
meetings...
bring the
community out
of isolation
Community Centre Partnership Proposal 5
FAST FACTS
Australia is now home
to the fourth largest Hazara
population globally.
The Hazara ethnic minority lives
largely in Afghanistan, and makes
up around nine per cent of the
country’s population, however
there are also communities living
in Iran and Pakistan.
Their name is Persian for
“one thousand” and relates
to a myth that the Hazara
descended from 1,000 troops that
accompanied Genghis Khan during
the conquest of the Eurasian base.
Traditionally Hazaras are
a moderate people, who place
great importance on education
and economic advancement.
Hazaras support women’s
liberation and Hazara women
have acted as agents of female
emancipation throughout history.
The Hazaras remain the target
of massacres and human rights
abuses at the hands of Taliban
forces and as such seek safety
in new nations globally.
HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA6
A Community Centre for HAA
Leading the Hazara community of Brisbane is Ali Karimi,
a former refugee from Afghanistan. At the top of his list
is securing a permanent cost effective community centre
for his community.
According to Mr Karimi, the way forward is to draw on
community resources in the development and maintenance
of such spaces, thereby promoting a strong sense of
community ownership as community members donate
their own skills, time and energy towards the construction
and upkeep of the facility.
The opportunity of property is very important to the
Hazara community because it will be the heart of their
community - a multi-purpose community space for
gatherings, events, memorials, funerals and much more.
What the HAA needs
HAA’s ambition is to buy a property or gain a property
for long term lease from the council.
Having their own property will mean they no longer need
to rent out space from other organisations, saving money
and providing the flexibility to hold events and other
functions when they need to, thus being able to respond
to community needs as they arise.
The Hazara community has already demonstrated a strong
commitment to this vision, having already raised more than
$200K from community members.
The Hazara community possesses a diverse array of
accredited trade skills, including tiling, carpentry, painting
and more, that can be applied to the renovation and
refurbishment of an acquired community centre.
HAZARA
ASSOCIATION
OF AUSTRALIA:
T H E VI S I O N
Like many refugee communities,
the Hazara community is extremely
resourceful. What the Hazara community
lacks is a physical home, a concrete
foundation to nurture a threatened
culture, a home to measure growth
and to ultimately enrich this country.
Community Centre Partnership Proposal 7
What does the Hazara community look like?
It’s estimated that more than 2000 Hazara people now
reside in Logan and Brisbane’s Southside. The community
boasts strong and cohesive leadership, and a determination
to succeed now visible in the prevalence of Hazara people
across a wide range of occupations.
Hazara parents strongly value their children’s education,
having themselves been deprived this opportunity in many
instances due to circumstances outside of their control.
This is now evident in the success many young Hazara
people are enjoying in the professions, including medicine,
law, engineering and the arts.
The shared experiences of trauma and life in exile have
been reworked into a point of strength, as the community
rallies tightly as a source of mutual support.
What does the ideal property look like?
The ideal property would include the following attributes:
•	 Located on Brisbane’s Southside
(in close proximity to Logan)
•	 Inclusion of large car park space
•	 Large floor space for community events
•	 Industrial building or commercial space
•	 Close to public transport
•	 Close to local Afghan shops.
In addition to meeting the Hazara community’s need for
a space in which to gather, the centre would be available
for rent to any interested persons or group for functions
and activities such as weddings, birthday and anniversary
parties, and other sports and recreational activities,
enabling a small source of income to counter costs.
already
raised more
than $200K from
community
members
HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA8
Helping hand in hard times
Asides from the devastating impacts of the flood itself,
community spirit stole the headlines when in January 2011,
Brisbane was hit by its worst natural disaster since 1974.
Whether immediately affected or not, tens of thousands of
people from across greater Brisbane spontaneously banded
together into the celebrated ‘Mud Army’; a generous,
concerned and tireless group of community volunteers that
transgressed culture, age, gender and ethnicity.
The Hazara community were right at the heart of clean up
efforts, dedicating their energy to supporting the Rocklea
business community; one of the worst impacted areas
during the floods.
While the men attended to much of the heavy lifting,
Hazara women took to the tongs, whipping up an endless
bounty to maintain the energy and sprits of people from
all walks of life involved in the mountainous task of getting
Brisbane back on its feet.
Hidden treasures
The story of the Hidden Treasures of Afghanistan
is a fitting metaphor for the Hazara people themselves.
The collection of priceless treasures, exhibited last year
by the Queensland Museum direct from Kabul, only
survived thanks to the courage of around 20 museum,
government and banking staff who concealed the treasures
in secret vaults, protecting them from destruction by the
Taliban for almost 30 years.
The Hazara Association of Australia rallied the estimated
300 Hazara families that now call Queensland home to
work with the Queensland Museum to showcase the food,
culture and social customs of Afghanistan alongside the
museum’s celebrated exhibit.
Existing stakeholders and supporters
Existing supporters and stakeholders include Logan
City Council, MDA and community leaders, along with
the existing community base. The wider community
surrounding an established centre also stands to benefit
from a new facility available for hire.
What will the Community Centre provide
to the community?
A Community Centre will provide the Hazara Association
of Australia a place to meet, celebrate culture and support
the community through education, recreation and sporting
activities.
The Community Centre will be open to everyone in the
area and will focus on promoting a healthy and cohesive
society by hosting activities and events that integrate
people from the breadth of the neighbourhood.
The Hazara
community were
right at the heart
of the flood clean
up in 2011
Community Centre Partnership Proposal 9
The entrepreneurial spirit for which migrants to
Australia are renowned is alive and well in South
East Queensland’s Hazara community. In only
a decade, many have leveraged their existing skill
sets to establish vibrant enterprises to the benefit
of the entire community. Above all, these skills
represent valuable sweat equity that the
Hazara community wishes to share in
establishing a community centre.
ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
WORTHY OF INVESTMENT
HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA10
7-11 Fairfield
It’s synonymous with convenience,
a place that can be accessed with ease
and at all hours to fill those everyday
needs that arise at a second’s notice.
For Fairfield 7-11 owner, Abhi Kibriya,
buying into the franchise offers the
long-term security and peace of
mind that comes with a reputable
brand recognised by everyone. He
says his life is now amazing and that
Queensland has come to mean home
in every sense.
PA Halal Butchery
The taste and aroma of traditional
Afghan barbecue is truly a thing
to savour, an opportunity which
Mohammad Taqi Ziyaee now shares
with the Brisbane community through
his own butchery in Buranda.
The shop not only helps meet the
needs of Brisbane’s growing Muslim
community but the wider community
as well, with some meats not part of
the traditional Australian palette now
fast gaining popularity with the wider
community, including the endless cuts
of goat meat on sale.
Mohammad’s venture draws on
his experience as a butcher in his
home country. He sees Queensland
as a relaxed place with abundant
opportunities that has allowed him
to renew his confidence in life.
Brisbane Scrap Metals
Like many who have had to scrape
an existence out of next to nothing,
Shahin Tanin and Nabi Abdulahi are
attuned to seeing treasure where
others see trash. Theirs is a mindset
borne of letting nothing go to
waste - an attitude now at home in a
prosperous scrap metal business they
have built from the ground up.
They view their business venture as
an opportunity to support a better
environment through minimizing
waste, while also giving back to the
Australian community through the
tax they now proudly pay. Shahin
thinks of Queensland as a wonderfully
safe place with rich and varied
opportunities.
Community Centre Partnership Proposal 11
Kabul Bazar Grocery and
Butchery
It’s a name that says it all. Situated
at the heart of Moorooka’s vibrant
cultural and commercial hub, this
bustling retail outlet is all things
Afghan, not only servicing the area’s
Afghan and Middle-Eastern community,
but attracting large numbers of
people from the wider community as
Moorooka gains popularity amongst
people across greater Brisbane seeking
a unique retail and dining experience.
In establishing the shop, Shawali
Haidari draws on a life-time of food
retail experience at home. He’s
delighted to see people from all
walks of life enter his shop and take
away with them a new appreciation
of Afghan food and culture. For him,
Queensland is a place that has allowed
him to dream of a future again.
Pamir Super Market
Another business success story built
from the ground up, Nabi’s Pamir
Super Market in Acacia Ridge is yet
another example of the marriage
between entrepreneurial nous and
community need delivering a retail
experience that is benefiting the local
area’s Afghan community and wider
community alike. Nabi says he now
has big hopes for his future.
Palmdale Halal Quality
Meats
Ahmad Zia Shaheed-Zadah’s butchery
is another example of a small business
venture inspired by life experience
from abroad now brought to bear on
the Queensland community.
Theirs is a
mindset borne of
letting nothing
go to waste
HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA12
Charcoal Kebab
Many Hazara business owners are
motivated to share opportunities
with fellow Hazaras as a means to
supporting their community to settle.
Dawood Nazari does this through yet
another Hazara business sharing the
delicious flavour of traditional Hazara
barbecue with the wider Brisbane
community.
Ethical Property
Maintenance (EPM)
Community leader, Ali Karimi has
drawn on his earlier experience as an
agronomist with the United Nations
to establish a thriving pest control
service with his son, Eddy Karimi,
utilising non-toxic solutions that
pose minimal harm to people or the
environment.
Since taking the reins of the company,
Eddy says that owning his own
business offers the flexibility to focus
his energies on family and supporting
the new and emerging Hazara
community in greater Brisbane.
Precise Built
Mr Karimi’s next door neighbour,
Ezat Zafari has leveraged his career
experience as a brick layer in
Afghanistan to establish a home
construction company that services
much of greater Brisbane.
Life in Queensland is a happy one with
abundant opportunity, for Ezat.
Life in
Queensland
is a happy one
with abundant
opportunity
Community Centre Partnership Proposal 13
From the wisdom of respected
community elders through
to the energy, intelligence
and determination of the
next generation, South East
Queensland’s Hazara community
has strong leadership offering
a solid foundation and strong
investment potential.
COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP
The
community
boasts strong
and cohesive
leadship
HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA14
ALI KARIMI
Ali Karimi’s own personal experiences as a former refugee
have equipped him with an insider’s understanding of
the challenges newly arrived migrants experience as
they work to settle in the community.
Following the success stories of community
centres established by earlier migrant
communities, Mr Karimi believes a
similar Hazara community centre will
not only benefit his own community,
but will also support community
integration on a larger scale by
offering an affordable, open and
accessible place for people from
all different backgrounds to come
together.
The absence of such a resource
along with the prohibitive cost of
public liability for ad hoc venue hire
is contributing to patterns of isolation
and dislocation which, he says, in
some cases is causing people to migrate
interstate in search of greener pastures.
In the long run, constant movement within
Australia is making settlement more difficult, at
both the community level and for the individuals
affected.
“Without the centre, new arrivals feel like they don’t
belong and find it hard concentrating on their settlement.
They may feel that no one cares, and decide, ‘let’s go to
Melbourne’. Then the same thing happens in Melbourne,
and they think, ‘let’s go to Sydney.’ People end up always
moving around,” Mr Karimi said.
“Community centres are most important to settlement.
The first day that people arrive, we can invite them into the
community centre,” he said.
“The next thing, the mainstream community might use the
centre to celebrate Christmas Day and invite us! This will
allow cross-cultural learning about each other’s important
cultural days and events. During the whole year we will
have events from different communities. This will be a
community centre for all,” he said.
Success, he says, relies on true collaboration between
multiple community stakeholders.
“The community should feel some kind of responsibility in
everything, about how to use the funds, maintain the funds,
and how to invite the wider community to use the facility
so that everything is shared. Not from one side, from both
sides,” he said.
“This will be
a community
centre for all,”
Community Centre Partnership Proposal 15
DR FOROTAN
Dr Tahir Forotan is a shining example of the Hazara
people’s drive, resilience and will to prosper.
Arriving in Australia as an asylum seeker in 2000, Forotan
was one of many put on a temporary protection visa,
offering little in the way of long-term certainty or access to
services. On top of this, Forotan found that his training as a
medical doctor was not recognised in Australia, meaning he
would need to find a new way to make a living.
He instead turned his attention to supporting his fellow
country men and others who had arrived in Australia as
refugees and asylum seekers – even though he himself had
recently survived similar circumstances and was faced
with many of the same challenges. He has now been
a counsellor with QPASTT (the Queensland Program
of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma) for
nearly 15 years; a calling that saw him awarded the
Pride of Australia Medal for 2013.
Dr Forotan’s five children embody this same community
spirit. Amongst them, his daughter Homa, won the 2008
‘Young Queenslander of the Year Award’ for her work
within the community and is now a junior doctor at
Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Like Ali Karimi, Dr Forotan has found that as the Hazara
community grows in size, finding suitable places to come
together has become more challenging, in turn reinforcing
communication issues that impact on family relations
between the younger and older generations.
“When the kids come together, they talk only in English. In
some families this creates a lot of problems, because, you
know, the communication barrier is a very big problem.
When this gap starts, other gaps also start to develop in
understanding between parents and children,” he said.
It’s a problem that even the existence of mosques that bind
people of the Islamic faith together seem unable to resolve.
“It’s a reality of life, what is happening in Afghanistan has
some kind of reflection here. Differences of religion and
differences of belief, (means) there is not a single mosque
or centre for our community.”
The Hazara people need a place to call home, a centre
dedicated to supporting their culture. A place where
people like Dr Forotan can educate others in need.
HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA16
Homa Forotan and Sediqa Karimi are two young women
making good on the dream their parents sacrificed
everything to attain. The two have both excelled on their
educational and vocational pathways every step of the way
and are now establishing themselves as successful young
professionals. Homa, in particular, achieved the seemingly
impossible, attaining an OP1 only a few short years after
arriving in Australia on the cusp of adolescence with
limited English.
Homa attained the same level of excellence throughout her
undergraduate studies, gaining entry to Medicine which she
has now also successfully graduated from. Her academic
excellence along with active community participation saw
her awarded ‘Young Queenslander of the Year’ in 2008.
They are both active in their support of young Hazara
people who are settling in the community, and through
their respective terms as President of the Australian
Afghan Tertiary Students Association, have offered
mentorship to students who are working to achieve their
goals of attaining tertiary qualifications.
“We work closely with youth, to show them that there are
examples of people, who come from similar backgrounds,
but have succeeded in creating new lives for themselves,
and that they can too. The feedback we get from the
young people is overwhelming. They describe how they
thought they couldn’t do law school, or they couldn’t do
engineering, but when they hear from others who share
a similar background they are motivated to do the same,”
said Homa.
“Having
a place of
our own is
like having
a home.”
HOMA FOROTAN
& SEDIQA KARIMI
Community Centre Partnership Proposal 17
Their parents’ experiences have taught them about
the depths of human resilience, but also how relatively
small investments in settlement support for new arrivals
repay themselves in spades over time. They both see
the establishment of a Hazara community centre as an
important part of this picture.
“I think it is quite important for us to have a community
centre, because it will give us peace of mind that here
is a place that we can use, to come together and meet
and support one another and engage in activities that
strengthen our community.”
“For us, securing a community centre is an important next
step in our establishment. As things are now, for each
meeting we have, for each event we hold, for every activity
we run, we have to source a venue. This is very time
consuming and often expensive. If we can secure a space
that will become a centre for the community, we are able
to focus our efforts and build on the positive work we are
already doing as a community.”
“Having a place of our own is like having a home.”
The two were instrumental in organising the Australian
National Afghan Youth Conference that brought together
young people from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to
network, share ideas, discuss topics relevant to them and
develop a strong support base for the young newly arrived
migrants.
Their lives now are both owed to their parents will to
triumph adversity, both separated for lengthy periods
from their fathers who had migrated to Australia earlier
in search of a safety for their respective families.
“When you look back, you just realise how strong they
are. I remember talking to my father on the telephone
from Pakistan as a child. He always seemed so happy.
We didn’t realise that there was anything wrong, that
there were sacrifices being made for us to have a better
life,” said Homa.
“I think we have come a very long way, looking back now -
especially looking at our parents, I often wonder how they
did it. My father had to leave us and come to Australia to
find a new life. I don’t know how my mother managed to
raise us like she did,” adds Sediqa.
Their parents’
experiences have
taught them about
the depths of
human resilience,
but also how
relatively small
investments in
settlement support
for new arrivals
repay themselves in
spades over time.
HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA18
Community Centre Partnership Proposal 19
How to get involved
The vision of a place for South East Queensland’s Hazara
community to call home offers a unique opportunity for
philanthropists, investors, and local government agencies
to contribute capital or release existing assets at a
peppercorn rate.
The Hazara community itself can make a significant
financial contribution through funds raised to date, along
with the sweat equity flowing from the diverse trade
skill-sets that exist amongst community members.
To get involved or find out more contact:
Mr Ali Karimi
President of Hazara Association of Australia Inc
0408 183 466
akarimi.pamir@gmail.com
Hazara_Prosepctus_FA_LR

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Hazara_Prosepctus_FA_LR

  • 2. HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA2 Theirs is a story at home in the mythology of Ghengis Khan marauding through mountain plains on horse back just as it is in the delicacy of a snow flake described by Rumi. It’s a story found at the cross roads of ancient trade routes and the meeting of cultures along the indelible Silk Road, each leaving its imprint on a people grounded in the unforgiving elements of the mountainous Hazarajat region in Afghanistan’s central highlands. The Hazara people are no strangers to change and adapting to new influences and places while retaining their cherished core. Now mostly followers of Islam, in earlier times Hazara people carved into the mountainside the breathtaking ‘Buddhas of Bamiyan’, one of the true archaeological wonders of the world, sadly destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. There’s an undeniable parallel between the destruction of the Buddhas and the situation Hazara people now face. The minority group have faced persecution for centuries, but the situation has worsened steadily since the seeds of the Taliban were first sown during the prolonged fight to evict Soviet forces from Afghanistan during the 1980s. Since then, Hazara people have been caught up in a palpable fight for survival that in more recent times has spilled over to neighbouring Pakistan; home to a significant Hazara diaspora. Thousands of Hazara people have since found safety in countries around the globe, with Australia now home to the world’s fourth largest Hazara community. Hazara people are renowned for their will to survive despite the odds, and for their indomitable spirit; their hearts remain open, pure and hopeful despite centuries of oppression. It’s a spirit that Queensland is now fortunate to behold.
  • 4. HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA4 A Place to Call Home Part of the mission of the Hazara community in South East Queensland is extending welcome and support to more recent arrivals through hosting regular social gatherings. Hazara Association of Australia President, Mr Ali Karimi, says that as the community continues to grow, so too does the popularity of the gatherings which are regularly attracting over 200 people. The gatherings are now held in parks, as the houses that hosted them can no longer hold the large number of participants, but the Association are eager to establish a community centre that will meet their needs. Having a space to facilitate this work is integral to building a strong community and forging important connections with other Australians. As Mr Karimi describes, these meetings are critical for people because they “bring the community out of isolation” and encourage links with the broader community. Community gatherings give newly arrived people a chance to recharge, make connections and support one another during their respective settlement journeys. Indeed, Mr Karimi thinks these community gatherings are probably saving public funds by warding off depression and mental health issues amongst some of the community’s most vulnerable, especially older men and women who are at risk of depression. The Hazara community welcomes and encourages people to invite their friends and neighbours to its gatherings - especially the broader community - as a great way to build cultural bridges and understanding. It also helps community members form networks that forge a sense of belonging and leads to wider benefits – such as social invitations, job opportunities and neighbourly support. The challenge for the Hazara Association of Australia now is to further empower this important work through the establishment of a community centre with which they can continue to support newly arrived people, and build on this positive work by establishing sporting and recreational activities that encourage social cohesion and cultural exchange. The Hazara community in Australia Survivors of all kinds survive on account of their wits, creativity and capacity to adapt to difficult circumstances. For Hazara people, centuries of uncertainty, turmoil and forced migration have written the above traits into their very cultural DNA. Repeatedly having to start anew on terms outside their own control has equipped the Hazara people with a unique entrepreneurship that has enabled them to plant roots and prosper wherever in the world they’ve found themselves. In a country in desperate need of entrepreneurial spirit, Hazara people are already helping add new vigour to the Queensland economy through a variety of small business ventures. Their children, eager to make the most of an education many of their parents were denied, are excelling academically and now occupy nearly every profession with decades of positive output ahead of them. It’s hard to believe how far they’ve come, since nearly all have come to Australia only in the last ten to fifteen years, many arriving with little more than the shirts on their backs. To be sure, settlement is a long journey for new and emerging communities, and the Hazara community has a long road ahead of it. But if the last decade is any indication, at some point in the not-too-distant future, we will all look to the Hazara community as an integral part of Australian society that we simply could not live without. These meetings... bring the community out of isolation
  • 5. Community Centre Partnership Proposal 5 FAST FACTS Australia is now home to the fourth largest Hazara population globally. The Hazara ethnic minority lives largely in Afghanistan, and makes up around nine per cent of the country’s population, however there are also communities living in Iran and Pakistan. Their name is Persian for “one thousand” and relates to a myth that the Hazara descended from 1,000 troops that accompanied Genghis Khan during the conquest of the Eurasian base. Traditionally Hazaras are a moderate people, who place great importance on education and economic advancement. Hazaras support women’s liberation and Hazara women have acted as agents of female emancipation throughout history. The Hazaras remain the target of massacres and human rights abuses at the hands of Taliban forces and as such seek safety in new nations globally.
  • 6. HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA6 A Community Centre for HAA Leading the Hazara community of Brisbane is Ali Karimi, a former refugee from Afghanistan. At the top of his list is securing a permanent cost effective community centre for his community. According to Mr Karimi, the way forward is to draw on community resources in the development and maintenance of such spaces, thereby promoting a strong sense of community ownership as community members donate their own skills, time and energy towards the construction and upkeep of the facility. The opportunity of property is very important to the Hazara community because it will be the heart of their community - a multi-purpose community space for gatherings, events, memorials, funerals and much more. What the HAA needs HAA’s ambition is to buy a property or gain a property for long term lease from the council. Having their own property will mean they no longer need to rent out space from other organisations, saving money and providing the flexibility to hold events and other functions when they need to, thus being able to respond to community needs as they arise. The Hazara community has already demonstrated a strong commitment to this vision, having already raised more than $200K from community members. The Hazara community possesses a diverse array of accredited trade skills, including tiling, carpentry, painting and more, that can be applied to the renovation and refurbishment of an acquired community centre. HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA: T H E VI S I O N Like many refugee communities, the Hazara community is extremely resourceful. What the Hazara community lacks is a physical home, a concrete foundation to nurture a threatened culture, a home to measure growth and to ultimately enrich this country.
  • 7. Community Centre Partnership Proposal 7 What does the Hazara community look like? It’s estimated that more than 2000 Hazara people now reside in Logan and Brisbane’s Southside. The community boasts strong and cohesive leadership, and a determination to succeed now visible in the prevalence of Hazara people across a wide range of occupations. Hazara parents strongly value their children’s education, having themselves been deprived this opportunity in many instances due to circumstances outside of their control. This is now evident in the success many young Hazara people are enjoying in the professions, including medicine, law, engineering and the arts. The shared experiences of trauma and life in exile have been reworked into a point of strength, as the community rallies tightly as a source of mutual support. What does the ideal property look like? The ideal property would include the following attributes: • Located on Brisbane’s Southside (in close proximity to Logan) • Inclusion of large car park space • Large floor space for community events • Industrial building or commercial space • Close to public transport • Close to local Afghan shops. In addition to meeting the Hazara community’s need for a space in which to gather, the centre would be available for rent to any interested persons or group for functions and activities such as weddings, birthday and anniversary parties, and other sports and recreational activities, enabling a small source of income to counter costs. already raised more than $200K from community members
  • 8. HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA8 Helping hand in hard times Asides from the devastating impacts of the flood itself, community spirit stole the headlines when in January 2011, Brisbane was hit by its worst natural disaster since 1974. Whether immediately affected or not, tens of thousands of people from across greater Brisbane spontaneously banded together into the celebrated ‘Mud Army’; a generous, concerned and tireless group of community volunteers that transgressed culture, age, gender and ethnicity. The Hazara community were right at the heart of clean up efforts, dedicating their energy to supporting the Rocklea business community; one of the worst impacted areas during the floods. While the men attended to much of the heavy lifting, Hazara women took to the tongs, whipping up an endless bounty to maintain the energy and sprits of people from all walks of life involved in the mountainous task of getting Brisbane back on its feet. Hidden treasures The story of the Hidden Treasures of Afghanistan is a fitting metaphor for the Hazara people themselves. The collection of priceless treasures, exhibited last year by the Queensland Museum direct from Kabul, only survived thanks to the courage of around 20 museum, government and banking staff who concealed the treasures in secret vaults, protecting them from destruction by the Taliban for almost 30 years. The Hazara Association of Australia rallied the estimated 300 Hazara families that now call Queensland home to work with the Queensland Museum to showcase the food, culture and social customs of Afghanistan alongside the museum’s celebrated exhibit. Existing stakeholders and supporters Existing supporters and stakeholders include Logan City Council, MDA and community leaders, along with the existing community base. The wider community surrounding an established centre also stands to benefit from a new facility available for hire. What will the Community Centre provide to the community? A Community Centre will provide the Hazara Association of Australia a place to meet, celebrate culture and support the community through education, recreation and sporting activities. The Community Centre will be open to everyone in the area and will focus on promoting a healthy and cohesive society by hosting activities and events that integrate people from the breadth of the neighbourhood. The Hazara community were right at the heart of the flood clean up in 2011
  • 9. Community Centre Partnership Proposal 9 The entrepreneurial spirit for which migrants to Australia are renowned is alive and well in South East Queensland’s Hazara community. In only a decade, many have leveraged their existing skill sets to establish vibrant enterprises to the benefit of the entire community. Above all, these skills represent valuable sweat equity that the Hazara community wishes to share in establishing a community centre. ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT WORTHY OF INVESTMENT
  • 10. HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA10 7-11 Fairfield It’s synonymous with convenience, a place that can be accessed with ease and at all hours to fill those everyday needs that arise at a second’s notice. For Fairfield 7-11 owner, Abhi Kibriya, buying into the franchise offers the long-term security and peace of mind that comes with a reputable brand recognised by everyone. He says his life is now amazing and that Queensland has come to mean home in every sense. PA Halal Butchery The taste and aroma of traditional Afghan barbecue is truly a thing to savour, an opportunity which Mohammad Taqi Ziyaee now shares with the Brisbane community through his own butchery in Buranda. The shop not only helps meet the needs of Brisbane’s growing Muslim community but the wider community as well, with some meats not part of the traditional Australian palette now fast gaining popularity with the wider community, including the endless cuts of goat meat on sale. Mohammad’s venture draws on his experience as a butcher in his home country. He sees Queensland as a relaxed place with abundant opportunities that has allowed him to renew his confidence in life. Brisbane Scrap Metals Like many who have had to scrape an existence out of next to nothing, Shahin Tanin and Nabi Abdulahi are attuned to seeing treasure where others see trash. Theirs is a mindset borne of letting nothing go to waste - an attitude now at home in a prosperous scrap metal business they have built from the ground up. They view their business venture as an opportunity to support a better environment through minimizing waste, while also giving back to the Australian community through the tax they now proudly pay. Shahin thinks of Queensland as a wonderfully safe place with rich and varied opportunities.
  • 11. Community Centre Partnership Proposal 11 Kabul Bazar Grocery and Butchery It’s a name that says it all. Situated at the heart of Moorooka’s vibrant cultural and commercial hub, this bustling retail outlet is all things Afghan, not only servicing the area’s Afghan and Middle-Eastern community, but attracting large numbers of people from the wider community as Moorooka gains popularity amongst people across greater Brisbane seeking a unique retail and dining experience. In establishing the shop, Shawali Haidari draws on a life-time of food retail experience at home. He’s delighted to see people from all walks of life enter his shop and take away with them a new appreciation of Afghan food and culture. For him, Queensland is a place that has allowed him to dream of a future again. Pamir Super Market Another business success story built from the ground up, Nabi’s Pamir Super Market in Acacia Ridge is yet another example of the marriage between entrepreneurial nous and community need delivering a retail experience that is benefiting the local area’s Afghan community and wider community alike. Nabi says he now has big hopes for his future. Palmdale Halal Quality Meats Ahmad Zia Shaheed-Zadah’s butchery is another example of a small business venture inspired by life experience from abroad now brought to bear on the Queensland community. Theirs is a mindset borne of letting nothing go to waste
  • 12. HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA12 Charcoal Kebab Many Hazara business owners are motivated to share opportunities with fellow Hazaras as a means to supporting their community to settle. Dawood Nazari does this through yet another Hazara business sharing the delicious flavour of traditional Hazara barbecue with the wider Brisbane community. Ethical Property Maintenance (EPM) Community leader, Ali Karimi has drawn on his earlier experience as an agronomist with the United Nations to establish a thriving pest control service with his son, Eddy Karimi, utilising non-toxic solutions that pose minimal harm to people or the environment. Since taking the reins of the company, Eddy says that owning his own business offers the flexibility to focus his energies on family and supporting the new and emerging Hazara community in greater Brisbane. Precise Built Mr Karimi’s next door neighbour, Ezat Zafari has leveraged his career experience as a brick layer in Afghanistan to establish a home construction company that services much of greater Brisbane. Life in Queensland is a happy one with abundant opportunity, for Ezat. Life in Queensland is a happy one with abundant opportunity
  • 13. Community Centre Partnership Proposal 13 From the wisdom of respected community elders through to the energy, intelligence and determination of the next generation, South East Queensland’s Hazara community has strong leadership offering a solid foundation and strong investment potential. COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP The community boasts strong and cohesive leadship
  • 14. HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA14 ALI KARIMI Ali Karimi’s own personal experiences as a former refugee have equipped him with an insider’s understanding of the challenges newly arrived migrants experience as they work to settle in the community. Following the success stories of community centres established by earlier migrant communities, Mr Karimi believes a similar Hazara community centre will not only benefit his own community, but will also support community integration on a larger scale by offering an affordable, open and accessible place for people from all different backgrounds to come together. The absence of such a resource along with the prohibitive cost of public liability for ad hoc venue hire is contributing to patterns of isolation and dislocation which, he says, in some cases is causing people to migrate interstate in search of greener pastures. In the long run, constant movement within Australia is making settlement more difficult, at both the community level and for the individuals affected. “Without the centre, new arrivals feel like they don’t belong and find it hard concentrating on their settlement. They may feel that no one cares, and decide, ‘let’s go to Melbourne’. Then the same thing happens in Melbourne, and they think, ‘let’s go to Sydney.’ People end up always moving around,” Mr Karimi said. “Community centres are most important to settlement. The first day that people arrive, we can invite them into the community centre,” he said. “The next thing, the mainstream community might use the centre to celebrate Christmas Day and invite us! This will allow cross-cultural learning about each other’s important cultural days and events. During the whole year we will have events from different communities. This will be a community centre for all,” he said. Success, he says, relies on true collaboration between multiple community stakeholders. “The community should feel some kind of responsibility in everything, about how to use the funds, maintain the funds, and how to invite the wider community to use the facility so that everything is shared. Not from one side, from both sides,” he said. “This will be a community centre for all,”
  • 15. Community Centre Partnership Proposal 15 DR FOROTAN Dr Tahir Forotan is a shining example of the Hazara people’s drive, resilience and will to prosper. Arriving in Australia as an asylum seeker in 2000, Forotan was one of many put on a temporary protection visa, offering little in the way of long-term certainty or access to services. On top of this, Forotan found that his training as a medical doctor was not recognised in Australia, meaning he would need to find a new way to make a living. He instead turned his attention to supporting his fellow country men and others who had arrived in Australia as refugees and asylum seekers – even though he himself had recently survived similar circumstances and was faced with many of the same challenges. He has now been a counsellor with QPASTT (the Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma) for nearly 15 years; a calling that saw him awarded the Pride of Australia Medal for 2013. Dr Forotan’s five children embody this same community spirit. Amongst them, his daughter Homa, won the 2008 ‘Young Queenslander of the Year Award’ for her work within the community and is now a junior doctor at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital. Like Ali Karimi, Dr Forotan has found that as the Hazara community grows in size, finding suitable places to come together has become more challenging, in turn reinforcing communication issues that impact on family relations between the younger and older generations. “When the kids come together, they talk only in English. In some families this creates a lot of problems, because, you know, the communication barrier is a very big problem. When this gap starts, other gaps also start to develop in understanding between parents and children,” he said. It’s a problem that even the existence of mosques that bind people of the Islamic faith together seem unable to resolve. “It’s a reality of life, what is happening in Afghanistan has some kind of reflection here. Differences of religion and differences of belief, (means) there is not a single mosque or centre for our community.” The Hazara people need a place to call home, a centre dedicated to supporting their culture. A place where people like Dr Forotan can educate others in need.
  • 16. HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA16 Homa Forotan and Sediqa Karimi are two young women making good on the dream their parents sacrificed everything to attain. The two have both excelled on their educational and vocational pathways every step of the way and are now establishing themselves as successful young professionals. Homa, in particular, achieved the seemingly impossible, attaining an OP1 only a few short years after arriving in Australia on the cusp of adolescence with limited English. Homa attained the same level of excellence throughout her undergraduate studies, gaining entry to Medicine which she has now also successfully graduated from. Her academic excellence along with active community participation saw her awarded ‘Young Queenslander of the Year’ in 2008. They are both active in their support of young Hazara people who are settling in the community, and through their respective terms as President of the Australian Afghan Tertiary Students Association, have offered mentorship to students who are working to achieve their goals of attaining tertiary qualifications. “We work closely with youth, to show them that there are examples of people, who come from similar backgrounds, but have succeeded in creating new lives for themselves, and that they can too. The feedback we get from the young people is overwhelming. They describe how they thought they couldn’t do law school, or they couldn’t do engineering, but when they hear from others who share a similar background they are motivated to do the same,” said Homa. “Having a place of our own is like having a home.” HOMA FOROTAN & SEDIQA KARIMI
  • 17. Community Centre Partnership Proposal 17 Their parents’ experiences have taught them about the depths of human resilience, but also how relatively small investments in settlement support for new arrivals repay themselves in spades over time. They both see the establishment of a Hazara community centre as an important part of this picture. “I think it is quite important for us to have a community centre, because it will give us peace of mind that here is a place that we can use, to come together and meet and support one another and engage in activities that strengthen our community.” “For us, securing a community centre is an important next step in our establishment. As things are now, for each meeting we have, for each event we hold, for every activity we run, we have to source a venue. This is very time consuming and often expensive. If we can secure a space that will become a centre for the community, we are able to focus our efforts and build on the positive work we are already doing as a community.” “Having a place of our own is like having a home.” The two were instrumental in organising the Australian National Afghan Youth Conference that brought together young people from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to network, share ideas, discuss topics relevant to them and develop a strong support base for the young newly arrived migrants. Their lives now are both owed to their parents will to triumph adversity, both separated for lengthy periods from their fathers who had migrated to Australia earlier in search of a safety for their respective families. “When you look back, you just realise how strong they are. I remember talking to my father on the telephone from Pakistan as a child. He always seemed so happy. We didn’t realise that there was anything wrong, that there were sacrifices being made for us to have a better life,” said Homa. “I think we have come a very long way, looking back now - especially looking at our parents, I often wonder how they did it. My father had to leave us and come to Australia to find a new life. I don’t know how my mother managed to raise us like she did,” adds Sediqa. Their parents’ experiences have taught them about the depths of human resilience, but also how relatively small investments in settlement support for new arrivals repay themselves in spades over time.
  • 18. HAZARA ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA18
  • 19. Community Centre Partnership Proposal 19 How to get involved The vision of a place for South East Queensland’s Hazara community to call home offers a unique opportunity for philanthropists, investors, and local government agencies to contribute capital or release existing assets at a peppercorn rate. The Hazara community itself can make a significant financial contribution through funds raised to date, along with the sweat equity flowing from the diverse trade skill-sets that exist amongst community members. To get involved or find out more contact: Mr Ali Karimi President of Hazara Association of Australia Inc 0408 183 466 akarimi.pamir@gmail.com