Farzana Rezaie, who came to Naracoorte from Afghanistan and is part of the Hazara community, has achieved the prestigious honour of being bestowed a South Australian Australia Day Award.

Farzana received The Award for Leadership in Languages and Cultures, presented to her by the Governor of South Australia, His Excellence Hieu Van Le, at Government House on January 21.

Farzana works at Naracoorte High School, and her nomination was written by Migrant Resource Coordinator Jenny Stirling and submitted by Principal John Harris, who have described themselves as “over the moon” for the educator and translator.

In an excerpt from the submission, Farzana was praised for her dedication to fostering connections in the community through language:

“Farzana’s story began as a High School student where she assisted Naracoorte High School teachers to educate fellow Hazara students who arrived with poor or non-existent English skills. While still at school (2011 to 2014), Farzana worked as an interpreter with the Adelaide based Interpreting and Translating Centre (ITC). Non- English speaking clients were assisted with: driver’s licence tests; health information sessions with Naracoorte Community Health; and Centrelink issues.

“As a volunteer with the newly established Naracoorte Migrant Resource Centre, Farzana worked with youth in various settlement activities such as sport and cultural integration sessions.

“In 2012, Farzana undertook a research project where up to 150 migrants, members of the wider Naracoorte community and teachers met to engage socially across a spectrum of activities, issues and cultural backgrounds designed to promote ‘integration’. As part of the project, Farzana organized health information session for migrant women and young girls covering topics such as basic health care, vaccinations with pharmacy staff, hospital nurses and GPs from the Kincraig Medical Centre.”

Among Farzana’s many accolades she has been the Young Citizen of the Year for Naracoorte Lucindale Council, and received a certificate of recognition from the former Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Ian Hunter.

Farzana speaks fluent Hazarghi, Dari and Persian in addition to English. Over the last four years she has worked with kindergartens and primary schools in addition to her secondary school work.