A Logan father of four has been named Queensland’s local hero. Will he become Australia’s local hero too?
Elijah Buol, who arrived in Australia as an unaccompanied child refugee and overcame the odds to become a criminologist and Ethnic Communities Council director, will represent Queensland in the local hero category at the Australian of the Year Awards.
Queensland award winners join other state and territory winners at the national awards which are presented in Canberra on January 25, 2019.
Mr Buol, of Regents Park, landed in Australia in 2002 as an unaccompanied minor from South Sudan and overcame the odds to become a criminologist and director of the Ethnic Communities Council.
Aged 9, he was displaced and separated from his family, spending seven years in two separate refugee camps in Uganda before being granted a humanitarian visa and settling in Australia.
He has devoted his life to finding ways to engage young people from migrant backgrounds and helping them integrate into Australian communities.
Learning of his nomination earlier this week, Mr Buol said it was an honour to be recognised.
“It is wonderful,” he said.
“I came here 16 years ago with nothing but hope for a better life … now I call Australia home. I am very proud to be an Australian. This country has given me the opportunity to realise my potential.”
Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland chief executive Garry Page has described Mr Buol as an exceptional community advocate who volunteered to help others.
“From a very early age, Elijah knew he wanted to help others and I am very proud I have been able to see the results of his efforts at close range,” he said on the EECQ facebook page.
Mr Buol’s qualifications include a Master of Law, Master of Justice in Intelligence and a Bachelor of Human Services. He is studying Juris Doctor at the Australian National University.
Through advocacy work, Mr Buol has been instrumental in helping remove children under 18 from adult prisons in Queensland.
Mr Buol established the African Australian Women’s Network now the African Australian Women’s Association, mentored others through the prestigious Young African Australian Star Awards and is the vice president of the Queensland African Communities Council.
Queensland’s Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero award winners will be announced at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight, Friday, November 9.
Detective and children’s champion Jon Rouse is Queensland’s Australian of the Year.
Brisbane scientist, researcher and humanitarian Professor James Dale AO is Queensland’s Senior of the Year.
Gold Coast model and disability activist Angel Dixon is Queensland Young Australian of the Year.