The best gets the ZEST

And Abulla Agwa is the best. The former Western Sydney TAFE community services graduate has been presented with the ZEST 2016 Hall of Fame award.

Abulla, who lives in Blacktown, was recognized for his passionate and tireless work in the community services sector for over a decade, especially for his work with refugees.

Arriving in Australia from Ethiopia as a refugee himself, Abulla knows all too well the trauma and displacement experienced by people fleeing persecution in war-torn countries. Within a year of his arrival in 2004, Abulla had enrolled in Community Services with Western Sydney TAFE and was volunteering with the St Vincent De Paul Society. This led to his involvement with other community outreach agencies such as SydWest Multicultural Services and the Mount Druitt Ethnic Communities Agency (MECA).

Winning a ZEST Award for his work within the community was an incredibly proud moment for Abulla. "I worked with helping the community in Ethiopia and even though I was jailed for doing so, I continue to do the same in Australia," he told the St Marys Star. "I want to see people being in charge of their lives."

The ZEST Awards were established in 2011 to celebrate and promote life in Western Sydney and recognize the innovation and creativity of its residents, particularly in the community services sector.