Rosemary Kariuki

Community Panel member

Appointed December 2023

Rosemary Kariuki is the Multicultural Community Liaison Officer for the Campbelltown Police Local Area Command. She specialises in helping migrants who are facing domestic violence, language barriers and financial distress. Connecting and building trust between the Police and the CALD Communities.

Fleeing Kenya alone in 1999 to escape family abuse and tribal clashes, her early years in Australia were terribly lonely. Her experience helped Rosemary recognise that isolation is a huge issue for many migrant women. Many aren’t used to going out alone, have no transport and speak little or no English. So, Rosemary devised ways to help women leave their house and meet women in similar circumstances.

In partnership with the African Women’s Group, she helped start the African Women’s Dinner Dance. Now in its 16th year, more than 400 women attend the annual event. She also started the African Village Market – a program to help migrants and refugees start their own businesses – which ran for four years.

Rosemary’s warmth, courage and kindness inspires all who meet her. Her work was the subject of the documentary, ‘Rosemary’s Way’ and has featured in Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe. She is an author of A Joyful Life

Rosemary has been described as a ‘charismatic changemaker’, ‘on a mission to empower migrant women’.

As a child, she survived the first of many predators in her home. As a teen, she survived the first of three infant losses. In her twenties, she survived years of domestic violence. In her thirties, she survived political unrest and tribal clashes that brought a hammer crashing down on her head. 
But what makes Rosemary’s journey so remarkable is not just how she survived, but also how she came to find joy: an infectious joy that she has gone on to share with countless others. From her tough childhood in Kenya, taking care of her fifteen siblings, to becoming the 2021 Australian of the Year Local Hero and OAM in 2022 among other awards.

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