Young achiever Kot Monoah followed his dream of becoming a solicitor and community mentor.
"War has been a humbling experience. At just four years of age my family was forced to flee our home in South Sudan. I lived in horrific conditions at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya for 12 years.
"I arrived in Australia in 2004 and embraced the opportunities that Australia provides to its newcomers.
"I enrolled at Victoria University in foundation studies. The course coordinator was so supportive, I sought career advice and decided to pursue law.
"After graduating with a , I took on a summer clerkship at VU students possess. Just two weeks later I was offered a permanent role as a lawyer at the firm's Sunshine office in Melbourne. I was fortunate to have several years with them before relocating to Queensland, where I joined Maurice Blackburn. I am now back in Victoria where I am Principal Lawyer at Sunshine Lawyers.
"I have gone from learning the alphabet in refugee camps by drawing in the soil, to being a lawyer at some of Australia's leading law firms. I hope my achievements can inspire many other refugees to reach their goals."
Chairman of the South Sudanese Community Association of Victoria, Kot provides countless hours of advice, bringing together his knowledge as a lawyer to his community. Kot received the 2017 Law Institute of Victoria’s Rising Star Award; the 2016 Victoria Multicultural Award for Excellence Certificate of Merit; and the 2016 African Media Australia Award for Excellence in Community Leadership.