Decoration Contact us

From SEE client to Community Leader: Meet Shalaa Shakir, Founder of the Hymiana Mandaean Social Group

By Emma Prineas | March 4, 2021

This International Women’s Day, Navitas English is celebrating the success of its former client Shalaa Shakir, founder of the Hymiana Mandaean Social Group.

Photo of Shalaa Shakir talking into a microphone

Shalaa’s success story began back in 2013 when she enrolled in the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program at the Navitas English Liverpool College after migrating to Australia from Iraq.

As her confidence communicating in English grew, so did her passion for helping others in the community. After noticing her elderly father becoming depressed and withdrawn from the community, Shalaa decided to create a group to bring older Mandeans together. This became the Hymiana Mandaean Social Group.

Over time, Shalaa not only achieved her goal of helping others, she became a leader to those she worked with, particularly vulnerable single mothers and older people from the community with non-existent or limited English skills.

Shalaa said: “I created this group to give people who shared a similar experience to myself a chance to meet in a safe environment free from judgement.

“This is a place where Mandaean’s can come together to enjoy cultural, artistic and educational activities in our new Australian home and have fun doing it.”

Sam Kahila, Shalaa’s SEE trainer at Navitas English Liverpool College, said: “Shalaa was always an exceptional student and from day one she was able to show the capacity to build and grow. We’re so proud of her.

“The SEE program helped Shalaa to maximise her employability skills and gave her the all-important language skills to achieve what she has in the community.”

Shalaa is now among Australia’s next generation of migrant leaders, helping others to navigate their new life while living with past trauma. For Shalaa, it started with learning English, it’s now grown far larger, helping far more than she ever dreamed of in Sydney’s Liverpool region.

To find out more about the SEE program visit

Notice: On 1 December 2021, Navitas English changed its name to Navitas Skilled Futures. This name change reflects our programs, the focus of our work, and our positive impact on the people we serve. Find out more here.


aaron caulfield Adult Migrant English Program Afghanistan AMEP Award bankstown Basim Shamaon Cabramatta canberra career transition assistance Chen Zhao childcare Citizenship COVID-19 CTA Employment EST Event Expo Fairfield FSFYF Harmony Health japan jobseekers Liverpool mental health Navitas Bankstown NSW Own Your Story Pathways to Work Premier's Award PtW Refugee refugees Refugee Week SEE Short course SSI STARTTS student success sydney Volunteer VTS Youth

Recent posts

Share this article