When Ethiopian born Elleni Bereded-Samuel moved to Footscray seventeen years ago she was told the only work she or her husband could expect to find was in a factory.
Today Elleni is an official Living Legend and has been named one of the hundred most influential African Australians for her work inspiring local migrant and refugee groups to find rewarding careers.
Elleni received both awards at the Sydney Opera House this year. She said she can name more than thirty people whom she has helped get permanent jobs.
“What I love about my job is changing people’s lives. You give an opportunity to one person and you change life for their whole family. That one family can change the life of the community. That community can change the life of society,” said Elleni.
Elleni’s achievements include setting up bridging courses especially for young African Australian single mothers, developing programs to skill multilingual aged care workers for Spanish speaking Australians, and establishing the Horn of African Communities Network.
“My job is to show people how to fulfil their dreams. I tell them ‘dream big but start small – you’ll get there in the end’,” she said.
Elleni is the Community Engagement Advisor and Coordinator in the Office for Knowledge Exchange at Victoria University’s Footscray Park campus, sits on the SBS Board of Directors, and was last year appointed to the Western Health Board of Directors.