Young African leader inspires change in his community

Hands young African person web

Published October 08 2018

Young leader Achmel Temple has taken out this year's Moreland Awards in the youth category.

Achmel migrated to Australia from Sierra Leonne after spending time in a refugee camp in Ghana. 

"Settling into life in Australia was difficult at times mostly due to horrible memories of conflict in my home country. My family was fortunate because my mother, father and siblings where all together and we had a strong bond which helped us overcome what we had been through".

Achmel first came to Merri Health as a participant of our TRACKS program, which supports young people with peer support to help them make better choices.

"High school was tough because I got into trouble a lot and had to work hard to get my grades up which brought a lot of pressure on me and my family. Towards the end of high school I started making some poor choices in regards to the company I kept and consumption of alcohol. It was a regular thing that my friends and I would go out on a Friday or Saturday night and get drunk". 

Following a devastating event in 2010, Achmel knew it was time to change.

"My best friend who was also a refugee from Africa died after being pushed into the Yarra River after drinking with friends all evening: this was the biggest wakeup call I’ve ever had in regards to having a good look at myself and where I was headed in life.

"It was not long after this that I decided to get involved with my father’s work in the community, which was running a soccer program for young African refugees. Here I found something that gave young people hope, was so inspiring and positive for other young people from Africa".

After completing year 12, Achmel enrolled at Kangan Institute to complete a Diploma in Community Services. Through his dad's connection in the community services sector, he was introduced to Melanye from our TRACKS program.

"Melanye provided supervision and mentoring and I quickly gained the skills and knowledge to work in TRACKS, delivering interactive and educational workshops to support other young people in secondary schools in Moreland".

Over the course of 18 months, Achmel has made positive tracks.

"I'm now employed by TRACKS and feeling good within myself. I am now a youth support worker/mentor and feel very privileged to be able to work one-on-one with the young people.

"The TRACKS program has been a huge part of my life and really helped shape the person I am today. I really appreciate all the ongoing support and guidance from Melanye and Ross. Hopefully funding permitting, I can continue in some capacity with TRACKS in 2019".

Achmel is currently studying youth work at Victoria University and aspires to join the Victorian Police force.

Support for young people

If you or a young person you know is in need of guidance and support, TRACKS can help.

Call: 1300 637 744