Don’s involvement with AMPARO Advocacy goes back to the very beginning when in April 2002, he attended the first meeting of a Steering Committee tasked with developing an advocacy agency that would represent the rights and interests of people from non-English speaking background with disability.
Born in Sri Lanka, Don came to Brisbane in 1974. His professional life was in personnel management here and overseas in London. Over the years Don has been involved in many community organisations, including: the Qld Youth Orchestra Council, Queensland Braille, the Writing Association, and the QLD Narrating Service and was the former president of the Sri Lanka Society of Qld.
Don was the inaugural President of AMPARO Advocacy in 2004 and provided outstanding leadership in that position until stepping down in 2018. Don with other early members was instrumental in the development of the vision, values and beliefs that guide the important work of the organisation. In recognition of his significant contribution and commitment to AMPARO and the multicultural sector, Don was awarded a Qld Multicultural Award in 2008.
As a leader Don has always led from alongside, he has been pivotal in guiding the development of AMPARO as an independent advocacy agency and has always showed great sensitivity and support towards his fellow committee members and to all the staff.
It was Don who coined the term the AMPARO Family, to include all those who are involved with and support AMPARO’s vision and work. In 2018 after 14 years, Don stepped down as President but remained in the role of vice-President to mentor the new President of AMPARO Advocacy.
Don retired from the Management Committee of AMPARO in 2019 and his stewardship of AMPARO Advocacy is reflected in this video he kindly developed with the assistance of Alexandra Duarte a QUT Social Work student on placement with AMPARO and Jen Barrkman another member of the AMPARO management committee.