Esther Amito Onek
Throughout my life, I have encountered setbacks and challenges, but each and every time, I have grown stronger and more resilient. I have experienced more in my short life than most people will throughout their entire lives. I was born in Parjok, a small town of about 50,000 people in South Sudan and at the tender age of 3, I fell into a fire leaving permanent damage. After then escaping rebel soldiers we had to spend several years in a refugee camp before moving permanently to Australia in 2003, where I became a citizen, and learnt to speak fluent English.
I’ve shown a commitment and passion to creating a better life for myself which I have successfully achieved. My prospects at high school didn’t look good according to some, but I proved everybody wrong, completing my TEE and gaining entrance to Curtin University. I completed a Bachelor of Social Work in 2016 and got my first job with Women’s Health and Family Services as a Multicultural Women’s Domestic Violence Advocate. I am proud of where I’ve come from and am excited about the future. I know what it means to make sacrifices in order to achieve an ultimate goal, and I bring this attitude into my professional life too.
When I’m not working, during my spare time I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends, and I maintain a balanced + active lifestyle. I like trying new foods, exploring new places, and giving back to my community as much as possible.
Suresh Rajan is a passionate advocate of things multicultural. He has lived and breathed multiculturalism for many years. He is an entertaining and engaging speaker and will do these things in a non-threatening fashion. In his talk Suresh will introduce you to:
- The Diversity that is WA
- The truth about the statistics and the level of diversity
- Aspects of service delivery for the various religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism
- Practices that you need to adopt in catering for these differences
- The WA Charter of Multiculturalism
- The Substantive Equality programme in WA
- Refugees and our way of life
Suresh was CEO of the Epilepsy Association of WA and President of the National Ethnic Disability Alliance. He is the Chair of West Australians for Racial Equality and Secretary of the Ethnic Communities Council of WA.
This is an opportunity to engage one of WA’s leading speakers on matters multicultural to bring you up to date with the latest thinking in this area.
Naydeene is a proud and culturally aware woman from the ancestral line of the Ngoonooru Wadjari people in Yamatji country Midwest WA. Born and raised in the Pilbara mining town of Port Hedland, growing up within the foster care community, Naydeene has achieved many significant outcomes within her professional and personal life. She has a Graduate Certificate in Housing Management and Policies and over 24 years experience in the public housing sector where she worked in specific roles as an Aboriginal Support officer. Naydeene was able to identify the gaps and barriers which the most vulnerable experienced when stuck in the revolving door of homelessness. This has inspired her to start her own business called R U House Ready to inspire, educate, inform and empower people on the pathway from homeless to home ownership.
Michael Kiernan has extensive commercial and corporate background experience with previous positions as chairman and managing director roles in Australian and UK publicly listed companies, membership of Rotary International and the Anglican Church. From a comfortable lifestyle, following an unfortunate financial occurrence with the ATO he became bankrupt with nothing left but his experiences and without family support from his mother, brother and sisters would have been on the streets. Through his strong Christian Faith, he regrouped and embarked on a life of helping homeless people and formed the Saint Benedict’s Homeless Foundation to help address the rough sleepers’ issue in our community of which there are some 2,500 in Western Australia with just under half being women.
Hsu, Yun-Hsiang, also known as Sean, comes from Taiwan and first came to Margaret River in 2012, on a Working holidays visa. His intention was to gain a second year visa by working in agriculture. While in Margaret River Sean joined English Club, run by the Uniting Church, where he made many friends from all over the world, improved his English and learnt about other cultures.
During his time in Australia, Sean felt that he was changing and questioning what he wanted in the future. After a time working away from Margaret River, Sean returned, feeling that Margaret River was the place he wanted to call home. Sean started a business with a local person, Chinafriendly, with the aim of building bridges between the two countries.
Sean faced the disappointment of being offered sponsorship to stay in Australia, only for that company to close down. Fortunately another opportunity arose and Sean now works at Voyager Estate, where he can use his Chinese speaking and cultural skills.
During the Deep Listening Festival, Sean will share his story of the challenges involved in wanting to stay in Australia, how he is overcoming them, to build a bright future for himself.
Meire de Mello
Meire has a background in Education with a passion for community and culture. Before moving to Margaret River Meire has worked as a Cultural Support Worker, helping young people from Afghanistan, Vietnam and South Sudan find their way in a new culture. Meire worked for public libraries for almost 3 years and created the first ongoing Multicultural Story-time program presented at the Victoria State Library/Melbourne in 2017. Meire was appointed and volunteered as Multicultural Ambassador for the City of Ballarat between 2014-2016.
Having lived in Margaret River since May last year Meire and her family have been deeply involved in the local community. She has collaborated as culture adviser for many community groups and the local Shire.
Originally from Brazil Meire has/had to call, many places “home”. At Deep Listening, she we will be able to talk about what ‘finding home’ means for many migrants.
Craig attended school in Bunbury where his vocal talent was recognised by a teacher and nurtured. After a gap year Craig was accepted into the WA Academy of Performing Arts to study Musical Theatre. Mental health issues, resulting from his mother drinking while in utero, and his surviving various forms of childhood abuse has seen Craig struggle with multiple trauma and little support. As a result, Craig has lived with insecure housing and on the streets during numerous periods of his life.
Craig has achieved highly and met many inspirational people. Craig worked in Broome for 5 1/2 years in Youth Outreach, pursued a successful acting career, being in the SBS TV series ‘The Circuit’, working alongside the likes of Gary Sweet and Aaron Pederson and Kelton Pell. Most recently he played the role of ‘Tom the Cop’ in the movie ‘Drift’ alongside Sam Worthington. He has also sung with the Australian Opera Company. While in Broome, Craig married and had a daughter, the light of his life.
After moving to Margaret River, Craig’s marriage broke down and Craig entered another difficult time of his life. Determined to maintain a close relationship with his beautiful daughter, high rental costs forced Craig into cheap housing that led to his being exposed to dangerous chemicals affecting his physical, emotional and mental health. This made it difficult for him to have access to his child. Throughout this, Craig was committed to maintain his ongoing involvement with Just Home Margaret River Inc. a grassroots organization addressing homelessness and housing stress in the Augusta Margaret River area.
Presently Deputy Chairperson of Just Home Margaret River, Craig is currently focussing on developing his creative talent and looks forward to finding secure decent housing that offers himself and his child more consistency and security. A place to heal and further develop his many talents.
In 2019 Craig is enrolled to study multimedia and to further his music studies. He is passionate and excited to be continuing the development of his goal to connect at risk and remote youth with celebrities, by way of ‘facetime’ technology, in order to do what he can, to reduce the shocking rates of youth suicide and child abuse. Craig is grateful for the opportunity to be involved in this years Deep Listening Festival.
Living in Margaret River, Western Australia, I am currently taking a leave of absence from ministry as a Uniting Church minister to complete a PhD through the University of Divinity in Melbourne. My topic is the beguine mystics of the 13th century and their relevance for women seeking spiritual independence today. I am also a trained Spiritual Director and help to train new spiritual directors as part of the team at Dayspring in Perth.
Deep Water Dwelling is my spiritual direction business. I provide individual spiritual direction and run retreats and workshops for groups. I specialise in mandala workshops, which was my topic for my spiritual direction project and released a book in early 2018 through Mediacom, titled ‘A Mandala a Month Workbook’.
I am married with two teenage children. I love reading, movies, scrapbooking, can never get enough of musical theatre and could sit by the ocean for hours.
I am thrilled to be part of Deep Listening 2019 and look forward to exploring the idea of a “spiritual home” with people.
See our Artists page to see what beautiful art pieces you can expect at Deep Listening!