Mariam The Advisor

Mariam has inspired many with her courage to build and cross cultural bridges. Through experience of moving from Somalia to Kenya, to Uganda, to Qatar and back to Somalia where she fled as a refugee to Kenya and ultimately to Australia, Mariam has deep experience in what it means to move countries and adjust to new cultures.

As a child who could speak four languages she acted as an interpreter for her family assisting their many transitions and business and community relationships. Through all these migrations she developed her skill in setting fear aside and instead looked to discover commonalities and differences, although nothing prepared her for the greatest adjustment which was moving from Africa to the West.

To bridge the gap between these two worlds that many new arrivals see as a clash of culture and values, Mariam deliberately sought out opportunities for discovery when she arrived in Australia. Her efforts in doing so, were to help her family integrate into their new lives, while still maintaining their cultural identity.  She chose work situations that could give her the opportunity for one-on-one conversations, and the ability to observe, absorb and interact at a personal level so she could better understand what was behind the decisions and priorities of the community she was surrounded by.  Mariam showed great courage, often the only woman in the room in a head-scarf, the only black person, and without doubt the only refugee.

She also set aside her own belief systems and many of the cultural norms she was raised in, particularly the role and stature of women, in order to open her mind to this new world. Simultaneously undertaking a journey of self-discovery and self-reflection, Mariam’s insights can now benefit us all in a multicultural country undertaking the great challenge of achieving social cohesion.  The uniqueness and the perspective that Mariam brings to her role as advisor includes her ability to bridge the worlds between Africa and the West, as well as her ability to understand our common values and individual priorities.



“We have been happy to support Mariam in her endeavours. She has achieved so much since arriving in Australia and her garden, book and educational work help everyone she comes into contact with to understand the importance of their spiritual self. Mariam makes it possible to understand the connection between the earth, our health and wellbeing and achieving our aspirations”

Anthea Hancocks
Chief Executive Officer
Scanlon Foundation


  • - Cross culture
  • - Refugee integration
  • - African cultural liaison
  • - Islamic integration
  • - Mentor
  • - Women empowerment programs



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