Coming from a disadvantaged background and experiencing difficulties in high school, Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad was inspired to change the attitudes of young people through the written word.
He established the Sweatshop Literacy Movement in Western Sydney, to empower culturally and linguistically diverse communities through reading, writing and critical thinking. The organisation provides mentoring to young people who come from often-disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them express their frustrations and find solutions for change.
Mohammed has a PhD in creative writing and has written several novels about life in culturally diverse Western Sydney. His novel, The Lebs, was shortlisted for the 2019 Miles Franklin Award. He also edited After Australia – an anthology from a diverse mix of Indigenous writers and writers of colour.
Thanks to his leadership skills and powerful written voice, Mohammed has become an important role model for disenchanted young people in Western Sydney. He helps them harness their energy and engage constructively with the wider community, using the written word as a tool.