Irene Mombi Bakulikira.

Active and energetic, living life by positive affirmations for herself and others, and inspiring the community through her enlightening and uplifting personality. This is Irene. “I was born in a small town called Ngweshe in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I did not see or spend much time in my homeland. All I remember is disturbing stories of war told by my parents, and the difficulties they experienced handling five children under the age of 5 during the war. I grew up in a small town called Muchatha in Kenya.

Irene by Brandon Dellow

“My childhood was tough and I never could be able to compare my difficult life in Kenya to the privileged life most Australian kids have.  After 10 years of hardship and struggles in Kenya, my family was accepted to come to Australia.

“We arrived in Geelong in September 2010. Being in Australia has enabled me to fulfil my education dreams I once dreamt of as a little girl. I am currently in my third year at Deakin University, studying a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Teaching (Secondary).

“After being in Australia for a couple of years and while also continuing with school, I thought it would be best to do other extracurricular activities. I became an active member within the community by working alongside young people through The fOrT Youth Centre, Kardinia Church and Western Edge Youth Arts. I also volunteered in the Multicultural Youth Leadership Committee at The fOrT, North Geelong Secondary College and Diversitat. Now I have been living in Australia for nearly 9 years, and I am still continuing with those activities.

“With all that said, I want to thank God and my Parents firstly. My Parents are my role models, and I don’t even know if I would be in Australia if it wasn’t for their hard work and their prayers. I also want to thank Australia for accepting my family into this beautiful country and allowing myself, my siblings and my parents to live our dream to the fullest. I am Irene Mombi Bakulikira, and this is my story.”

Irene is a talented singer and actress. She features in the current City of Geelong #streetface series. #hsmonth #youthinaction

Story and photo: Brandon Dellow.