b. 1978

Shoheli Sunjida is a passionate advocate for community wellbeing. She is actively involved in a number of initiatives in the Pakenham area, particularly around food and nutrition, which aim to empower women and her local Bangladeshi community. She is also a great supporter of projects that enable young people to express their cultural differences.

Shoheli was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As a young woman, she had a strong interest in theatre and public speaking, developing skills that would later support her community advocacy work. She often won awards for her poetry and speaking presentations and was awarded a scholarship to study charted accountancy. She then completed her Masters in Accountancy at the Bangladesh National University.

Shoheli married at 21 and had her first son soon after. Fearing for her child’s safety after a string of recurring child abductions, she left Bangladesh with her family and arrived in Melbourne in 2002.

After moving to the Cardinia Shire, Shoheli was motivated to become politically involved and stood for the local council during the 2016 elections. While she was narrowly defeated, the experience strengthened her resolve to remain politically active in her community. She has initiated various projects for the Cardinia Food Movement, which encourages healthy food habits through the growing and sourcing of fresh produce. Shoheli has also been involved in initiatives that raise awareness about family violence. Most recently, she has been working with high school students to creatively celebrate cultural difference and diversity.