Liaqat Ahmadi is winner of #ShepPROUD Youth Video competition

By Liz Mellino

With a drone in hand and a keen eye for film, Shepparton’s Liaqat Ahmadi captured the true essence of Shepparton.

Liaqat, 17, was announced the winner of the Community Fund Goulburn Valley’s 2018 #ShepPROUD Youth Video competition on Wednesday night for his video titled New In Town.

Growing up in Pakistan, Liaqat has lived a life different to most.

Liaqat Ahmadi
Liaqat Ahmadi

‘‘My background is from Afghanistan, but I grew up in Pakistan, my parents were forced to leave Afghanistan because of the war in the Taliban,’’ he said.

‘‘So my parents moved to Pakistan, but unfortunately in Pakistan we were again not safe, so my Dad had to catch the boat and come here and start a new life for us all.’’

Escaping the horrors of war, Liaqat and his family migrated to Shepparton and have called the town their home for the past 10 months.

Liaqat said the difference between the two countries was indescribable, with Shepparton allowing him the freedom to live a life filled with hope and opportunity.

‘‘When you live in a community you have to be free, free to life, free to education, free to do anything you want,’’ Liaqat said.

‘‘I always say that I am really thankful to the Australian Government for giving me a second chance to live my life... I have to give it back to the community and the town where I live.’’

The Shepparton High School Year 11 student spent days creating a video for the competition that shares his dreams of living in a town where he is free.

The three-minute video uses drone footage and creative dash-cam shots to share the Shepparton community and the areas that make him most #ShepPROUD.

‘‘I wanted to give back to the community and show the better side of Shepparton, for me this is an amazing community, everybody is so kind and friendly, they accept you,’’ Liaqat said.

‘‘I came here as a refugee and straightaway everybody accepted me... community is the most important thing if you are living in a town or area, you have to be involved in the community whether that’s through sport, education or something else.’’

Liaqat’s video was one of eight videos that were shortlisted by a panel of independent community members.

The eight videos were shared at an awards night at Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE on Wednesday, with a video by group Leader of Youth Diversity and Action called We are Shepparton declared runner-up.

Leaders of Youth Diversity and Action vice-secretary Mimi Jumapili said their video aimed to encourage people to be proud of the town they were from.

Leader of Youth Diversity and Action group vice secretary Mimi Jumapili.
Leader of Youth Diversity and Action group vice secretary Mimi Jumapili.

‘‘Our video talks about the Shepparton community and shows the different things us youth get up to in our spare time,’’ she said.

‘‘We want to have a positive impact on the youth in the community... there are many people that have left Shepparton for study or other reasons, but they always come back, no matter what, home is what Shepparton is.’’

In its third year, the #ShepPROUD competition reveals the many talented young video artists living in Greater Shepparton, allowing them a platform to share stories about where they live, work, study and play.

Rob and Phil Priestly, of Gouge Linen and Garment Services, first introduced the idea of a youth project to be driven by the Community Fund Goulburn Valley in 2016.

Since then, the competition has received hundreds of videos from eager youths wanting to share what they love most about where they live.

The Community Fund Goulburn Valley’s chief executive Andrea McNab said the quality of messages in each of this year’s videos were nothing but positive.

‘‘We were delighted with the outcome of this year’s #ShepPROUD competition... these young people are our future and our future is looking bright,’’ she said.

‘‘These videos tell us that our young people love where they live, work and study and are happy to share their passion with us.’’