Refugee Leadership and Protection Working Group Chair, Najeeba Wazefadost

At 10 years old, Najeeba Wazefadost fled Afghanistan with her parents. She sought asylum from Australia by sea in September 2000. She spent several months in mandatory immigration detention before being recognised as a refugee. Arriving with no knowledge of English, by the age of 14, Najeeba had mastered it well-enough to win a national essay writing competition, and start the advocacy journey. She has a Bachelor’s degree in medical science.

Najeeba Wazefedost is one of the founding members for Global Refugee Network, Global Independent Refugee Women Leaders and the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees. Najeeba has been actively involved in the development of refugee-led networks at both the regional and global level, which focuses on bringing together refugee-led organizations and refugee change-makers from around the world to gather to discuss their lived experiences and propose solutions for more effective and sustainable refugee policy. She is an advocate, educator, public speaker, and researcher with strong qualitative and quantitative skills. She has worked throughout policy and program cycles from design, implementation, review and evaluation.

Through all her work, she priorities and amplifies the voices, experiences, and aspirations of those most directly impacted. She has been a gender audit to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and ensuring Gender equality and the empowerment of refugee and migrant women remains a top priority commitment. She is the founder of an Afghan women business network in Asia Pacific, supporting women to establish their own businesses. Since her advocacy journey Najeeba has been awarded for her work a number of times, including the Human rights medal award, Local Citizen Award, Young Women of the west award.

‘Leaving your country is one of the most important decisions a human being can be forced to make.’ – Najeeba

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