Skip to main content

News

Youth advocate Sizol Fuyana named NT Young Australian of the Year

sizol-fuyana-cdu
CDU student Sizol Fuyana takes home the 2022 NT Young Australian of the Year award with her parents Amin and Pat.

Bachelor of Laws and Psychology student at Charles Darwin University (CDU), Sizol Fuyana, has been named 2022 NT Young Australian of the Year at an awards ceremony last night.

At only 20 years of age, Ms Fuyana has risen to become the new face of Northern Territory youth through her tireless community work, story of resilience and passion for social justice.

Accepting the top honour as the 2022 NT Young Australian of the Year with a teary speech, she shared her personal journey and advocated for the vulnerable young people whom she works with at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

“I’m not here to represent myself. I’m here to represent the young people in Don Dale that I work with because they're the ones that will be here after me," Ms Fuyana said.

As a youth community leader, Ms Fuyana has been chairing the 2021 Northern Territory Youth Round Table, supporting at-risk young people through her business Fuyana Support and advocating for education pathways as a CDU Student Ambassador.

Although a CDU Law and Psychology student for the past two years, getting into higher education was not a smooth ride for Ms Fuyana.

“I was a very difficult child growing up. I’ve pushed boundaries and have been suspended from school many times,” she said.

After struggling through mental health issues and being admitted to the psychological ward in the hospital two years ago, she managed to break through the personal challenges and now uses her own story to inspire other young people.

“I look back to the Sizol two years ago. I was sitting in a psych ward, and I remember a nurse who said to me, 'Sizol, one day, you're going to change the world.”

“Now I’m here and it’s been a long journey. The recognition is not for me, but for all the young people in the Territory. I want them to get inspired. They are the next ones to serve the community,” she said.

She developed a strong passion for supporting vulnerable young people going through the justice system, which motivated her to study a Law and Psychology degree after going through the Tertiary Enabling Program at CDU. 

“I study Law because I want to help people find their voice and make sure their voices are heard.

“And I study Psychology because I want to understand people’s emotions. While working with vulnerable young people, it’s important to understand that instead of punishments, we need to understand the causes of their behaviour and assist them to deal with their trauma,” she said.

Ms Fuyana will be running for the 2022 Young Australian of the Year in Canberra ahead of Australia Day in January.

CDU Larrakia Academic in Residence, Bilawara Lee, was a finalist for the Senior Australian of the Year category at the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards.

Related Articles

  • Charles Darwin University (CDU) engineering students Napoleao Da Silva (left) and Trang Nguyen participate in the social innovation challenge with support from professionals like Lecturer Dr Ulrike Kachel and Student Council Sustainability Officer Jens Cheung (right).

    Social innovation challenge tackles food waste in the NT

    A social innovation challenge has kicked off today at Charles Darwin University (CDU), converging brilliant young minds pitching ideas to reduce food waste in the Northern Territory.

    Read more about Social innovation challenge tackles food waste in the NT
  • First purple bench projected launched in the NT

    Family violence training sessions to better support students and the community

    Charles Darwin University (CDU) is working with communities and tradies to promote equal respectful relationships and stop family violence before it starts.

    Read more about Family violence training sessions to better support students and the community
  • pop-up-mba-katherine-alice-springs

    CDU launches first pop-up degree, making higher education more accessible in the regions

    The first pop-up degree is being launched by Charles Darwin University (CDU), giving regional Territorians the option to study sustainable business practices close to home, making higher education more accessible in the regions. 

    Read more about CDU launches first pop-up degree, making higher education more accessible in the regions