Yarra Foundation
Sheema Shameli
Membership Manager

When I was 5, I learned how to read alphabet and write some words. I learned it from a TV program that was teaching literacy to adults who couldn’t read or write. I was too little to understand why there was such a program on TV and why all students were adults. A year later, I started my school and learned properly how to read and write. Six years later, my older sister got married and moved to the U.S. She left me something that changed my life: a library of about 500 books! Some of my best days were spent reading them.
I finished school, graduated from university, became a professional in my field. I studied industrial engineering and MBA and I am a data analyst and risk assessor in an engineering company. I travelled around the world and have been living in Australia since 2012.
But during all these years there has always been this image at the back of my mind; the faces of those adults in the classroom, their sadness and frustration and a question, why?
I believe that each of us must give something back to the society. I have been often involved in various volunteering activities but with Yarra I feel like I am really contributing to make change for the better. I joined Yarra not just because I wanted to improve the lives of disadvantaged children by giving them access to education but also to alleviate the pain of the image of illiterate adults in my head. I don’t want to see any regretful, defeated faces again…