Professor Patrick Parkinson

John Kamara

Humanitarian and co-founder —
Culturally Diverse Alliance of Tasmania, and
African Communities Council of Tasmania

Tasmania | 2023 Australian of the Year

John Kamara escaped war-torn Sierra Leone 19 years ago and started a new life in Tasmania in 2004. He now does all he can to assist migrants, refugees and people from culturally diverse communities.

His own experiences and work in child protection mean he understands the challenges new arrivals and marginalised groups face.

Sitting on multiple boards and involved in many community groups, John highlights systemic disadvantages for migrants such as racism, labour exploitation and recognition of overseas qualifications. He also assists with migrants’ resumes and their search for jobs and housing.

John co-founded the Culturally Diverse Alliance of Tasmania to support education and promote social cohesion, as well as the first ever African Communities Council of Tasmania. It strives to cement relationships among African Australians and the wider community.

He and his wife, Mavis, have also since established Kamara’s Heart Foundation, a charity to assist children in Sierra Leone.