Ali’s journey from Afghanistan and finding family in CMY

As a young man, Ali migrated from Afghanistan to Australia without his family, navigating a new country and cultures on his own. After being part of the Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors Program at CMY, Ali transitioned into a volunteer position at CMY, then into a paid role in the Finance team, which led him to his career today at KPMG.

As part of our 35 Years of Shaping Culture project, we spoke with Ali to hear his experiences as a newly-arrived young person in Australia and reflections on his time with CMY.

Only in high school, Ali migrated from Afghanistan to Australia in 2013 without his family, and experienced some difficulties and hardship settling into life in Australia. His proficiency in English and upbringing from a vastly different culture meant he faced barriers when trying to access support systems and career opportunities.

At the time, Ali recalls having trouble understanding how to fit in and find his feet. When he discovered CMY in 2015 through the Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors Program, he found a sense of community and belonging.

From participating in the program, Ali took up an employment opportunity with CMY, initially working at the reception desk. As an organisation that recognises talent and encourages participation, CMY’s inclusive environment provided Ali with opportunities to make the most of his skills and learning experience. Ali eventually transitioned into a role with the Finance team, which was aligned with his university studies and career goals.

“Having this support network at your workplace, they became more like a family,” he explains. “You kind of feel more secure and comfortable on building that experience and, at the same time, I was getting valuable experience from all my work and supporting me outside of university too.”

Ali developed a strong sense of belonging with the CMY community and this contributed to his understanding of Australia’s ever-growing diversity. Through his CMY journey, he also developed a passion for supporting young students from migrant and refugee backgrounds, “something that I really treasure a lot is giving it back to the community and being involved in those programs, especially as a volunteer,” he says.

“I wish that I had that support in high school, where some people from similar backgrounds would come talk to me and tell me this is what you need to do, and this is how you approach it. I think being involved in those programs and talking to young people from similar backgrounds gave me a really good feeling of making an impact, and suggestions based on my experience.”

Today, Ali Nazari works as an Assistant Manager at KPMG Australia whilst remaining in touch with his CMY colleagues.

“[At CMY] there’s no such a thing as being odd or having something odd. There’s no problem of what you have in your culture. There are always similarities between humans. It just depends on how you approach. I think I felt that the most during my time with CMY and I was comfortable with where I was, and able to relate with the people I was working with.” 

To learn more about CMY’s history and impact over the years, visit our history website: 35 Years of Shaping Culture.