Trailblazer honoured

Selba-Gondoza Luka, second right, with members of Empowering African Women - Ubuntu in Practice. Picture: SUPPLIED

by Danielle Kutchel

Local grassroots community leader, mental health clinician and NDIS advocate Selba-Gondoza Luka is among 23 women who have been inducted to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women this year.

Ms Luka’s name was added to the list on Saturday 13 November in recognition of her provision of “culturally appropriate support services to at-risk African-Australian youth, their families and the community at large”.

It caps off a big year for Ms Luka – founder of Afri-Aus Care – who was also named the 2021 Greater Dandenong Citizen of the Year on Australia Day.

Ms Luka has also co-founded the successful Empowering African Woman Ubuntu in Practice program, which was funded by the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

She said being inducted to the Honour Roll had already opened “so many doors”.

She believes the honour will help as she continues her work, supporting, advocating for and educating the ‘Mamas’ who are part of Afri-Aus Care’s Ubuntu community at Afri-Aus Care Community Village in Springvale South.

Ms Luka said she believes in a bottom-up strengths-based approach when working with the Mamas and their children in her community, and dedicated her recognition to them.

“This Honour Roll is for the Mamas – they’re the ones who opened their hearts for me to help them because we share the same struggles,” she said.

“I was once vulnerable myself; I see myself in them and they see me in them, that’s what Ubuntu is all about.

“I would like the Mamas one day to walk in my footsteps because they deserve the best.

“The only thing they were lacking was a platform where they could practise Ubuntu in caring for themselves, their children and to be part of the Australian society.

“I am just a vessel. I’m asking people to open their doors for the Mamas. I am a servant-leader for these women.”

She thanked those connected to Afri-Aus Care who had listened to her vision so far.

Each year, the Honour Roll celebrates exceptional women in Victoria who have made significant and lasting contributions to the community.

The latest inductees join more than 700 women named in the Honour Roll since the program began in 2001.

Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams praised the women who had been inducted this Roll

“This year’s inductees are true leaders who contribute every day to making Victoria – and in some cases the world – a better place,” she said.

“Celebrating the achievements of women of all backgrounds and experiences helps open the door for the next generation of outstanding women to be leaders.”