The West

Role model a beacon of hope
African community leader Joe Tuazama. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

After growing up in a camp for refugees from war-torn Liberia, Joe Tuazama saw Australia as a blessing for one reason - hope.

"People in the refugee camp had no hope," he said.

"We didn't even have the hope of finding something to eat each day. But today we can look to achieving our long-term dreams."

For the president of the Liberian Community of WA, this dream is not about fame or wealth but helping his expat African community.

Mr Tuazama has instigated programs including Mentor Me, which helps young people become role models, and Miss Liberia, a pageant to raise girls' self-esteem and teach them how to act as young women.

And this volunteer work is on top of being a full-time engineering student, an orderly at King Edward Memorial Hospital and working at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

West Metro Crime Prevention and Cultural Diversity Office chief Sgt Don Emanuel-Smith nominated Mr Tuazama for the Edie Hoy Poy Volunteering Award for Ethnic Communities, describing him as someone special. "He actually does something and has passion," Sgt Emanuel-Smith said.

Michelle Wheeler

The West Australian

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