Sikh hero gives emotional speech at Australian of the Year awards as the winners are revealed

Humble Sikh hero who delivers vital food and groceries to victims of floods, fires and drought gives emotional speech at Australian of the Year awards – as the night’s big winners are revealed

  • Amar Singh announced Australia’s Local Hero of 2023
  • Soceroo Awer Mabil crowned Young Australian of the Year
  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is presenting awards 

A humble Sikh hero has made an emotional speech after being crowned Australia’s 2023 Local Hero as the night’s big winners are revealed.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced NSW man Amar Singh, the founder of Turbans 4 Australia, was Australia’s 2023 Local Hero of the Year. 

Mr Singh was credited with promoting multiculturalism and religious tolerance by supplying emergency relief to Australians in need. 

His efforts have seen essential supplies needed to Australians impacted by drought, bushfires and floods as well as weekly hampers.

The Sikh hero made an emotional speech as he accepted his award on Wednesday.

‘What we want to do is create not just an understanding of our culture but the cultures around us, of every beautiful food, lunch box,’ he said. 

‘Every kid I want them to be proud of their food, their language, their culture and their parents. As a practising member of a religious community, it’s good to see Australians from all faiths and all backgrounds treated I equally.

‘I don’t want somebody judged go for their turban or hijab.’

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced NSW man Amar Singh, the founder of Turbans 4 Australia, was Australia's 2023 Local Hero

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced NSW man Amar Singh, the founder of Turbans 4 Australia, was Australia’s 2023 Local Hero

Soceroo Awer Mabil (pictured) was crowned the Young Australian of the Year with his proud mother and uncle accepting the award on his behalf

Soceroo Awer Mabil (pictured) was crowned the Young Australian of the Year with his proud mother and uncle accepting the award on his behalf

Soceroo Awer Mabil was later crowned the 2023 Young Australian of the Year with his proud mother and uncle accepting the award on his behalf. 

The winger is a co-founder of the not-for-profit organisation Barefoot to Boots, which aims for better health, education, policies and gender equality for refugees. 

Mabil grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp after his family fled civil war in Sudan, before moving to Australia with his mother and sister at just 10-years-old. 

‘I’ve been given an opportunity in such a beautiful country to be myself and for me the most important thing is to help the next generation and also inspire them to be themselves and follow their dreams,’ the Soceroo said. 

‘Australia gave me and my family that opportunity to follow our dreams. I reached out to my football family and collected all the football boots. 

‘I took them to the refugee camp where I was born and Barefoot to Boots has grown since. It has become something more than football.’

Mabil made a special shout-out to his mother during his televised speech. 

‘I’d love to say thank you to my beautiful mother for always being there, for me and my siblings. And she’s always been there, single mum,’ he said. 

‘You know, she moved us across the world to give us this opportunity to pursue our dreams and for me she’s the biggest inspiration for me.’

More to come. 

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