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Leila Alloush

Leila Alloush's focus on social justice for all ethnic groups has helped give women a greater voice in the community.

Honour Roll

When Leila Alloush first arrived on Australian shores from Lebanon as a young 19-year-old who could not speak English, she knew some challenges would lie ahead. She found herself surrounded by a remarkable mix of women from different cultural backgrounds - Vietnamese, Turkish, Italian, Greek, Russian and Chinese. But what she received from the group - friendship, help and support - changed Leila's life and became her inspiration to help other women in similar and difficult circumstances.

"They were accepting of my culture, religion and ethnicity and encouraged me to celebrate being Australian as well. They inspired me to do the same for other women regardless of their race, culture, religion or colour," Leila said.

Leila brought a determination to succeed to her new land and refined her English skills while studying social sciences at university. As a founding member of the Islamic Women's Welfare Council of Victoria, a volunteer at the Arabic Social Service, part of the Victorian Arabic Professional Network and a member of Ministerial Advisory Council for Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, Leila's work has helped give women a greater voice in the community. She has researched training methods for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, encouraged and run leadership training, focused on social justice for all ethnic groups including the disadvantaged and promoted a culture of inclusion.

Leila also helped establish Women's Health in the North, working with community groups at the grass roots level to secure funding and support for the service. For more than 21 years, Leila has worked across many cultures to help women improve their health and well being, improve their learning and educational opportunities and create a brighter economic future.

"Women are taking on the responsibility of leadership with their own families, within their communities and beyond very seriously. They're doing a lot of excellent work," Leila said.