Youth Projects’ annual Youth Awards were hosted at The Cluster last week, and we were humbled by the huge turnout on the night to celebrate the enormous contributions of young people, and the ways in which they are creating meaningful change within themselves and the wider community across Victoria.

Across five award categories, the Youth Awards cast a spotlight on emerging changemakers and young achievers aged 15 - 25 residing or working in Victoria. With winners taking home $500 in cash prizes to invest in their pursuits for change and impact.

Without further ado, please meet the 2023 Youth Awards winners…

Voice for Change Award: Kahlid Muse

Sponsored by L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand

Kahlid is transforming public discourse using their voice to advocate for better health access and outcomes, is a critical thinker, and promotes cultural and social equity across the community. 

While studying full-time, this individual has harnessed their unique skill set to present at conferences and collaborated on significant research projects. Their commitment to amplifying the voices of marginalised young people -particularly those affected by vaping and food insecurity - stems from personal experiences of exclusion and racism. 

This young individual is on the path to becoming a global voice for social and health equity, is actively pursuing advisory roles on numerous committees, including with UNICEF and VicHealth, showing their dedication to meaningful inclusion in public health decisions.


Personal Growth Award: Tahnaya Tuoro

Sponsored by AGA  

Having navigated through personal challenges around self-confidence and uncertainty, this young person has shown enormous personal growth to where they are now. They’ve unearthed a new-found confidence that has evolved into a source of peer support and empowerment for other young people in their circles. 

Beyond this, they have become an integral part of Youth Projects’ Youth Advisory Group, providing insights that are guiding program improvements. Choosing to use their personal growth as a strength, they’re now pursuing a career in Youth Work to improve the personal growth of other young people.


Creative Visionary Award: Aanchal Sharma

Aanchal co-designed a public art project in her local community which included interactive workshops for young people that shone a spotlight on mental health issues impacting young people and the LGBTQIA+ community. The project then went on to be displayed at a major public event where attendees could contribute to the artwork. This also led to the re-design of mental health resources for different target groups in the community, promoting self-confidence and self-esteem. 

Whilst doing all of this, this young person was also delivering STEM programs to young people across western Melbourne, advocates for urgent climate change action, serving as a national ambassador for mental health and is breaking gender barriers for young girls in traditionally male-dominated sports – all through their creative pursuits. 

Community Changemaker Award: Alexander Michailidis

Sponsored by Kangan Institute

Alexander turned their idea into an early intervention program tailored to school students experiencing disengagement - empowering and supporting young minds through their education and social transitions. At just 16, this person created an Instagram page promoting young sporting talent to inspire other young people to pursue their dreams.  

Since then, their Youth Basketball Movement has directly impacted over 700 young people, their socials content eclipsing over 10,000 views and continuing to motivate and inspire thousands of other young people. 


Young Achiever of the Year 2023: Abeer Fatima

Sponsored by Youth Projects

In the chambers of Victorian Parliament, Abeer delivered a compelling speech that marked just the beginning of her influential journey. Through the 'Unpack Parliament' podcast series, she further amplified youth voices, earning her a spot on the SYN FM team. Abeer's interview with SBS Urdu expanded her influence, while her insightful contributions to Youth Projects’ outSPOKEN youth-content series showcased her thoughtful perspectives. 

Abeer uses her platform to de-construct complex political subjects into understandable content, fostering a politically informed youth audience. Across podcasts and radio, she has been driving discourse around mental health, community well-being, representation of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and systemic change on issues impacting young people. On-the-ground Abeer is a member on Youth Advisory Committees, a Youth Connector with Merri-bek City Council, was featured on SBS Urdu talking about inclusivity and representation, and works with AFL players to coach them on mental health strategies.  

A massive thank you to our Youth Advisory Group for creating a memorable and truly youth-led event to celebrate the 2023 Youth Awards, and to emerging talent - Abeloth Addams - as our headline performer on the night.

Youth Projects' Youth Awards will be back again in 2024 - bigger and better than ever - with award nominations open later in the year.

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Official Event Sponsor

This event has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Victorian State Government and Engage! 2022 – 2024. 

‘Engage! provides young people with the opportunities and support they need to achieve their goals, and to be respected and engaged as valued members of their local community. Activities will promote the voices of young people and participation in decision making; support young people to develop new skills through training, mentoring, and volunteering; and showcase and recognise young people’s contribution to the community.’ – The Hon. Ros Spence MP (Minister for Youth)