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Sabihe McDonald

Interpreter and community volunteer.


2017 VIC Senior Australian of the Year Finalist

Leaving Iran in the mid-1960s to study nursing in England, Sabihe McDonald eventually landed in Australia in 1970. Since then, she has been an energetic and vibrant contributor to the Australian community. A Persian, Farsi-speaking interpreter, she has supported countless refugees and migrants to settle into the community and call Australia home. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty to be a chaperone, social worker, friend and guide to hundreds.

Sabihe’s voluntary work has not been limited to migrants. She has raised funds for special schools, supported children with parents in prison and started local permaculture groups. The doctors of the Royal Children’s Hospital continue to demand Sabihe’s nuanced combination of expert interpreting skills and sensitivity. She continues to volunteer each week at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, providing friendship and support to many people seeking asylum. With warmth, humour and compassion, Sabi continues to strive for justice and equality for all.

In 2016 she won the Refugee Champion Award for her lifelong commitment to refugees.

Reviewed 30 September 2019

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