Overwhelmed and grateful, a multicultural community champion in Bassir Qadiri

Bassir Qadiri, founder and chief executive of Bakhtar Community Organisation has been awarded The Medal of Order of Australia for his contribution of Victoria's multicultural community. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS.

By Ethan Benedicto

Striving for community growth and togetherness has always been at the forefront of Bassir Qadiri’s mind, and his efforts have since been rewarded after he was ordained with The Medal of the Order of Australia earlier this month.

Announced on 10 June, Bassir was acknowledged for his longstanding efforts and contributions towards Victoria’s multicultural community, and for him, receiving the award was “overwhelming”.

“I mean it was a surprise, I did receive some notification but I didn’t know that I would make it.

“I was overseas when I heard the news, and this was overwhelming for me, my family, my friends, my colleagues as well as the community organisation,” he said.

Chief executive and founder of Bakhtar Community Organisation, Bassir’s drive for his contributions is innate, saying that due to his mother’s position as a female activist, her traits were passed on to him.

“Giving back to the community was something I inherited from my mum, as far as I remember, I have always been involved in the community.

“When I moved to Australia in 2009 I saw the opportunity, especially since it’s a multicultural country which was [and is] something that I’m very interested in,” Bassir said.

Other notable achievements by Bassir include the Inclusive Volunteering Award through Volunteering Victoria in 2022; he was also the City of Casey’s Citizen of the Year in 2020 and in the same year was given the Australia Day Award in the Holt electorate.

He is a member of the South Metropolitan Regional Advisory Council and was a member of Casey’s Access and Inclusion Committee from 2018-2022.

While these paths, in one way or another contributed to his eventual OAM awarding, and though he is more than grateful, asterisks were never his goal.

“I’ve been committed since then, I started with poetry nights and cultural activities, and then I saw the need in other areas of the community.

“I would advise anyone to give back to this beautiful country, we don’t know [just] how privileged we are living in Australia.

“Giving back is our responsibility, whether it’s at an individual level, a group level or being part of a union, give back to this country,” Bassir said.

Bakhtar Community Organisation is the culmination of years of community engagement, where Bassir recognised the need for a centralised body to address people’s needs.

The charity organisation supports migrants and refugees with assistance in areas of employment, food assistance, cultural assimilation, health awareness and more.

Throughout the years, more than 6000 individuals have been supported by the organisation.

While the award was a surprise, “the other great thing is that we know that our work is being noticed”.

“I know we are doing something for the better of the community [and] if we are committed I think we’re going to achieve even more prestigious awards than this.

“So I feel privileged that somebody, someone in the community or within the organisation that we are working with has noticed the hard work we are doing, [that] we have been acknowledged and recognised,” Bassir said.

Working professionally as a financial manager for Program Finance Group, as well as an interpreter/translator for Monash Health since 2010, Bassir’s plate is more than full with his community endeavours.

However, he loves it, and he believes “that community work has been my passion”.

“When I do things, when I communicate with people when I do meetings after hours with organisations or community members, I enjoy it, I really enjoy it.

“Because I know that I’m giving back to the community, I’m helping someone and that gives me a sense of satisfaction,” Bassir said.

Moving forward, Bassir has launched his campaign for council this upcoming October election for Casuarina Ward, representing Narre Warren, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North.