My name is Thalep Ahmat. I’m married and have two daughters. I love family time, music (especially playing in my family’s band) and photography. My father is a Torres Strait Islander, and my mother is non-Indigenous. My Great, Great Grandmother was Annie Savage. Annie was born on Badu Island and was a Badu Island Traditional Owner (Badulgal people). My Grandmother’s mother was a Torres Strait Islander who was born on Mabuiag Island and married a Pearl Fisherman from the Philippines. My Grandparents moved from the Torres Strait Islands and settled in Cairns where my father was born. I was also born in Cairns, but moved to Rockhampton with my family at a young age and have lived here ever since.
I didn’t do very well at school but was fortunate enough to get an Apprenticeship at Aurizon as a Boilermaker. I enjoyed the role, but always felt a real desire to make a difference within my Indigenous Community. In 2016 an opportunity to fill this desire arose, and I began volunteering as an Indigenous Apprentice Mentor at Aurizon. During this time, I built strong relationships with young Indigenous apprentices and supported their personal growth, cultural identity, connections with community and supported them through personal issues.
In early 2018 Aurizon announced that our site (the Rockhampton Workshops) would close, with all staff to be made redundant. Suddenly I was faced with a decision to seek employment in my trade elsewhere or to follow my instincts and apply for work in the Indigenous Community Services field. I landed in the role of Trainee Counsellor with Helem Yumba (an Indigenous Domestic Violence Organisation), and I have never looked back. Through the traineeship I completed a Diploma of Counselling, and I’ve now moved onto tertiary studies and began a Bachelor of Psychological Science
The opportunity to be mentored by Dr. Westerman means the world to me. I admire the work that Dr. Westerman does, and I’m honoured to be a part of it. Being a part of her army of Indigenous psychologists is such a privilege, to be able to band together as a group of likeminded people with our hearts set on really making a difference to communities who have overwhelmingly endured more trauma than anywhere should.