- Local Champion
Whether it is fostering social cohesion through community events or creating a safe, diverse space for Muslim women to share their stories, Hana Assafiri is a compassionate and unspoken hero within the Victorian community, celebrated for both her generosity and success as a businesswoman.
Hana has dedicated her professional and private life to removing barriers that prevent women from living prosperous lives. By opening her first restaurant in 1998, the popular Moroccan Soup Bar in North Fitzroy — an institution for many Victorians — Hana has provided employment opportunities for marginalised members of the community.
Hana’s approach to business is both unconventional and effective, passionately grounded in an understanding of community and generosity. Hana introduced the concept of a verbal menu and communal eating to dining in Melbourne, contributing to a unique culinary culture which has been embraced by Melbournians from all backgrounds.
Her successful career was forged by her drive and passion to dispel misinformation and negative cultural stereotypes, and to create a more supportive Victorian community. In 2015, Hana was awarded TimeOut’s Legend Award for her flair for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Hana is passionate about the need for greater intercultural understanding by creating opportunities through respectful cross-cultural relations. Hana holds monthly events coined ‘Speed Date a Muslim’ and ‘Conversation Salons’ to bring together academics, journalists and community organisations to debate and discuss contemporary society, with a focus on women’s issues and racism.
Hana has been a mentor for many young women, particularly from marginalised backgrounds. Hana has made long-term and notable contributions to greater intercultural understanding between diverse community groups. She has played an extraordinary role in promoting the rights of Muslim women, and indeed of all women. Her vision is advantageous to the Victorian community and has inspired many others.
Reviewed 30 September 2019