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Benefits beyond the Boundaries

Speaker Name


Dr Melika Yassin Sheik-Eldin, AMES (AUS), Simon Talbot, Chief Operating Officer, Parks Victoria & Fiona Ransley

Speaker Profile

Since becoming Parks Victoria’s Chief Operating Officer 18 months ago, Simon has contributed to the ongoing success of promoting and conserving some of Victoria’s most culturally significant natural landscapes including Wilsons Prom and the Grampians.  

Simon comes to the organisation with over 20 years’ experience across the mining, agriculture, forestry and food sectors. This experience has afforded him the opportunity of working for some of Australia’s leading companies.

Dr Melika Yassin Sheik‐Eldin is responsible for strategic community relations involving ongoing dialogue and capacity building partnerships with refugee communities and sector organizations for Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES) in Victoria. More importantly, Melika oversees and mentors the successful and internationally recognized Community Guides Network; a bespoke, best practice program using members of a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community as integration guides for newly arrived refugees from the same cultural and linguistic background. Dr Melika Yassin Sheikh Eldin has represented AMES and presented at UNHCR Conferences in Geneva from 2007 to 2011 and was part of the 2011 UNHCR Women’s Dialogue in Jordan.

Fiona has supported autistic people for 15 years in the community and in education, both in Australia and Ireland. Fiona has Bachelor of Arts (psychology) degree (University of Tasmania, 2000) and a Masters in Disability Studies degree (Flinders University, 2015).  She has worked for Amaze for 7 years in various roles across the organisation and is currently the Capacity Building Coordinator.  

Abstract title


Benefits Beyond the Boundaries




Working Beyond the Boundaries is a highly successful community engagement program for the Western Melbourne District based at Werribee Park.  The program targets local new and emerging communities and is providing pathways to employment helping young adults from the community to gain “job ready” and language skills while connecting with their local park.  It also brings well needed volunteers to assist with everything from planting and weeding to propagation and plant production – all for the park.  Accordingly, the program provides benefits to both park and people. Modelled on similar programs in New York, Toronto and Kew Gardens, UK, this program addresses isolation issues among members of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. Initially focused on women from refugee communities the project now includes younger members of the community that have left school and been unable to gain employment, mainly due to lack of English rather than lack of skills.

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