Charles Sturt University Alumni Magazine
BUILDING COMMUNITY As a civil engineer in Afghanistan, Romal Baluchzada built infrastructure. In Australia, he’s building community. Arriving in 2010, Romal (pictured) now supports refugees and people seeking asylum, and in 2016 received one of the not-for-profit sector’s highest accolades, taking out top spot on Pro Bono Australia’s Impact 25 list of influential figures. A team leader in Settlement Services International’s Humanitarian Settlement Services program, Romal advocates for refugee rights and supports new arrivals settling into Australia. Outside work you’ll find him fighting child marriages and, until recently, running his own community radio program Khurasaan Zamin focused on Australian law and human rights. Since arriving in Australia, he has been interviewed by both Australian and Afghani media organisations to provide commentary on human rights issues. Romal said his experiences coming to Australia as a new migrant were confronting. “It was really challenging for me coming to a new country with new culture, new people and new language,” Romal said. “Back home, with my qualification and my experience, I was very settled. I worked for the Afghanistan Government’s Ministry of Public Works, and was a project manager of key road and railway projects in charge of a budget of $400 million.