Ethiopian born receives ‘Order of Australia’
Ethiopian–Australian circus pioneer, SosinaTewabeWegayehu hasbecome the recipient of the Order of Australia, the highest honor bestowed on civilians in Australia. The Ethiopian Born was recognizedwith the honor making her the first Ethiopian born to achieve this feat.
“This is a proud moment for me and what I have tried to be in my professional career,” the now Addis Ababa based, who returned to Ethiopia after 16 years, told The Reporter. “With all I have gained in Australia and with the recognition that has come my way, I want to be able to help the next generation of Ethiopian circus professionals gain more opportunities and have them reach their potential.”
A one-time champion of Ethiopian gymnastics, she told a packed press conference inside the Embassy of Australia in Bole last week that her efforts is also to push the Ethiopian government and authorities to see the importance of gymnastics .
“I have wanted to bring more equipment to help train young people and afford them the opportunities I had in Australia.Often times, I came to a dead-end with a system that has little understanding of what I want to do. I hope the government will listen, observe and see the importance of it and compare the life experience of others as well.
A graduate of the Swinburne University and the National Institute of Circus Arts, Sosina joined Circus Ethiopia at a young age.As a teenager, she traveled to Holland as part of a group; and even had an audience with the Queen of Holland and has traveled toa dozen nations.
She eventually moved to Australia in 1998.
Upon her return, she has started the Gamo Circus School of Ethiopia where vulnerable children are provided trainings in circus and gymnastics, for free, and it now has almost 100 registered students.
No longer a stranger to noted recognition, she has been awarded: “The most influential African-Australian of the year,” as well as being recognized by the Australian Circus Industry Awards in 2006 – the year she moved back to Ethiopia.
“That is what is most satisfying with what I do. The chance to offer opportunities that was not otherwise available to me when I was growing up. That is the greatest satisfaction tome and to offer mentorship to the children of my upbringing is what has brought me back home,” she concluded.