SBS annual Les Murray Award for Refugee Recognition awarded

SBS Les Murray Award is awarded to a candidate who employs refugees in the construction industry.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Australia has awarded its annual SBS Les Murray Award for Refugee Recognition to Hedayat Osyan, founder of a leading social enterprise that employs refugees in the construction industry.

Mr Osyan, a former refugee from Afghanistan, founded CommUnity Construction seven years ago to support refugees struggling to find work or facing exploitation in the construction industry because they don’t speak English.

The annual Les Murray award is named after legendary SBS sports broadcaster Les Murray AM, himself a former refugee from Hungary, and recognises an outstanding former refugee who is raising awareness of the plight of forcibly displaced people.

“The Les Murray Award is now in its third year and SBS is proud to sponsor this important award,” said James Taylor, Managing Director of SBS.

“I congratulate Hedayat Osyan for his many achievements and commitment to providing work for a vulnerable community that needed a trusted partner to help them build pathways for their careers and livelihoods.”

CEO of Australia for UNHCR, Trudi Mitchell, said, “Hedayat identified a key need in the community and has since empowered dozens of refugees to become self-sufficient. The judges were impressed by his determination to make a difference in a very tangible way.”

“We help refugees thrive and become independent,” Hedayat Osyan said. “We want to prove refugees are resilient, hard workers and bring new skills to society if you give them an opportunity.”

“Winning the Les Murray Award was the most exciting and happy moment,” Mr Osyan said. “I really admire Les Murray’s work in Australia. He made a huge contribution to Australian media and to other refugees. Being selected for the award is a huge achievement for me.”

Mr Osyan is from the persecuted Hazara community in Afghanistan. In 2006, his father, a high school teacher, was arrested by the Taliban and disappeared. When the Taliban attacked the family’s village in Ghazni in 2009, Hedayat’s mother told him to flee. He was 17 when he said goodbye to her and his two younger siblings. The teenager eventually travelled by boat to Australia and was detained on Christmas Island for three months. In 2010, he received his residency and moved to Sydney where he studied English at Marsden High School in West Ryde, before completing years 11 and 12.

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