Well-known in the community for his joyful nature and spirit, Ariya was intentional about the impact he planned to make from his early days in Queensland.
In 2013, soon after coming on board as a client of Multicultural Australia’s Humanitarian Settlement Program, Ariya took a loan to purchase DJ equipment.
He took his DJ gear with him, wherever possible, to entertain refugee communities at cultural events and holiday festivities.
“When I got settled after completing (Life Skills) training, I said that this time is very good to help people,” Ariya said.
He quickly saw an opportunity to share what he learned from the training and began helping newly arrived refugees with their studies and driver’s license test preparations. ‘
He became a trusted go-to person to drive people with disabilities to their medical appointments, and pickup up young refugee students from after-hours classes at MA, to take them to their homes.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Queensland schools to close in 2020, Ariya was instrumental in making sure students from refugee communities were able to continue their studies remotely.
With MA understaffed during the time, Ariya stepped up to pick up refurbished, donated laptops and deliver those to the students’ homes.
“When I got settled after completing (Life Skills) training, I said that this time is very good to help people.”
At the height of the lockdowns, as refugee households struggled to put food on the table with sudden loss of income, he helped deliver food supplies to these household as part of MA’s partnership with OzHarvest.
To this day, Ariya continues to deliver music and much-needed support to multicultural communities across Brisbane and Logan.
But, he says his volunteer work delivers him more dividends than he gives.
“It makes me happy – I’m fully charged for days. If someone asks me for help, [it means] I still have worth in this world,” he reflected.