South Australia's Young Australian of the Year finalists

Arman Abrahimzadeh, 28 - Domestic violence campaigner (Adelaide)

Domestic violence was a normal part of childhood for Arman Abrahimzadeh and his sisters. The Adelaide siblings lived in fear of their domineering father, who, in 2010, would eventually murder their mother Zahra in front of 300 people on a dance floor at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Arman and his sister were left to parent their 12 year old sister and continue their mother’s battles in court. A gentle young man, Arman vowed to never follow his father’s footsteps into a cycle of abuse. Now a White Ribbon Ambassador, Arman works with various organisations to support victims and raise awareness. A passionate advocate for better legislation to protect women and children, Arman speaks to schools, sporting clubs and police cadet training. In 2015, he established the Zahra Foundation Australia to assist women in crisis and empower them with education and financial independency. While his life has been scarred, Arman is reaching out to help the half a million Australian women experiencing domestic violence each year.

Genevieve Handley, 30 - Health activist (Unley Park)

With a thirst for life and a compassionate desire to help others, Genevieve Handley is an inspiring health activist living with Australia’s most common fatal genetic disease, Cystic Fibrosis (CF). A passionate believer in the importance of research and access to the latest treatments, Genevieve spearheaded the YesToKalydeco campaign. Kalydeco, the first drug to treat the cause of several CF mutations, has since been placed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, saving lives and improving the health of many others. Despite living with the crippling affects of CF herself, Genevieve is a ‘go to’ person for expert advice and consumer advocacy, working with the Cystic Fibrosis Federation and sharing research news whilst translating medical jargon into plain English. Genevieve’s background in biomedical science and physiotherapy has enabled her to interpret the increasingly complex science of CF so that others can understand treatments that may improve their lives. While a child is born with CF every four days, Genevieve embodies hope for the youngest generation of CF survivors.

Daniel Spencer, 25 - Climate activist (Clarence Park)

After attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Mexico in 2010, Daniel Spencer was galavanised into action and has been a full time community campaigner ever since. As the National Campaigner for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Dan has spearheaded a community-based campaign to see Port Augusta’s coal-fired power stations replaced with Australia’s first large-scale solar thermal power plant with storage. With steadfast patience and determination, Dan amassed the community’s support, organised rallies, gathered signatures, attracted widespread media coverage and walked the 300 kilometres to Adelaide to raise awareness for the Repower Port Augusta campaign. With wisdom beyond his years, Dan understands how to build community capacity, always offering to fill in the gaps when volunteers feel out of their depth. While he is determined to see Port Augusta reinvent itself as a national centre for arid living and innovation, Dan remains passionate about the role young people can play in creating change in the world.

Manal Younus, 21 - Diversity Champion (Adelaide)

In 1998, Manal arrived in Australia with her siblings after fleeing her country of origin, Eritrea, only days before the beginning of the country’s most devastating war. Tackling racism and prejudice head-on, Manal learnt first-hand what it means to be different and has become an agent for change in the community. Through her work with Welcome to Australia – a not-for-profit that aims to cultivate a culture of welcome in our nation – Manal has developed programs to elevate the national conversation around refugees, immigration and multiculturalism. As a member of the ActNow Theatre, Manal has staged award-winning interactive theatre performances that identify and confront racism. While completing a degree in international relations, Manal has also navigated her sense of identity through poetry, entering spoken word competitions and performing her work around the country. Working with other refugees to develop poems that share their stories of persecution, displacement and freedom, Manal encourages others to take pride in their identities and for all Australians to understand and embrace diversity.