Anhaar Kareem. Photo: Sally Tsoutas, Western Sydney University.
PONDERING the challenges of those from minority groups who dream of a role in public life, Greenacre Public School student Anhaar Kareem's essay, 'My Dreams Matter', has not only won the Years 5-6 category in the 2017 What Matter's essay writing competition, it has been named the overall joint winner.
Writing in poetic prose about the refugee experience, discrimination and the importance of goals, Anhaar, 10, said: "I was quite surprised to find out that I had won two categories. I think I won because it was unique and I wrote about people whose dreams were restricted due to issues outside of their control like race or gender."
Planning to be a writer when she grows up, Anhaar also wants to be a politician.
"I think I would be a very good politician because I love public speaking."
And what are her plans for the $350 in prize money, with prizes also including an iPad, a writing workshop and a trip to Canberra?
"I'm going to save half and donate the rest to orphan charities," Anhaar added.
This year's competition attracted over 4,000 entries from three states and territories.
One of the judges and TV presenter Lisa Wilkinson said: 'When I joined What Matters? as Patron earlier this year, I had always been confident that young people are interested in the big ideas.
"I was not disappointed. The writing more than lived up to my expectations, but these skilfully written essays were not an easy read.
"They hold up a mirror to our society and the reflection contains concern for human rights, a strong sense of identity, and of injustice. The essays bestowed on me a sense of the fundamental responsibility of adults to pass on a positive legacy."
Competition organiser the Whitlam Institute's Eric Sidoti said: "What Matters? offers a window into the lives of young Australians: not just what concerns them but what inspires them."