From SEE client to Community Leader: Meet Shalaa Shakir, Founder of the Hymiana Mandaean Social Group

March 4, 2021

This International Women’s Day, Navitas English is celebrating the success of its former client Shalaa Shakir, founder of the Hymiana Mandaean Social Group.

Shalaa’s success story began back in 2013 when she enrolled in the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program at the Navitas English Liverpool College after migrating to Australia from Iraq.

As her confidence communicating in English grew, so did her passion for helping others in the community. After noticing her elderly father becoming depressed and withdrawn from the community, Shalaa decided to create a group to bring older Mandeans together. This became the Hymiana Mandaean Social Group.

Over time, Shalaa not only achieved her goal of helping others, she became a leader to those she worked with, particularly vulnerable single mothers and older people from the community with non-existent or limited English skills.

Shalaa said: “I created this group to give people who shared a similar experience to myself a chance to meet in a safe environment free from judgement.

“This is a place where Mandaean’s can come together to enjoy cultural, artistic and educational activities in our new Australian home and have fun doing it.”

Sam Kahila, Shalaa’s SEE trainer at Navitas English Liverpool College, said: “Shalaa was always an exceptional student and from day one she was able to show the capacity to build and grow. We’re so proud of her.

“The SEE program helped Shalaa to maximise her employability skills and gave her the all-important language skills to achieve what she has in the community.”

Shalaa is now among Australia’s next generation of migrant leaders, helping others to navigate their new life while living with past trauma. For Shalaa, it started with learning English, it’s now grown far larger, helping far more than she ever dreamed of in Sydney’s Liverpool region.

To find out more about the SEE program visit