Wollongong youth worker Arif Khan has received a national award for his support of young refugees and work with Wollongong City Council.
The 25-year-old won the Cultural Understanding Award on Thursday night at a dinner in Canberra.
Mr Khan said he was passionate about helping refugees and young migrants after his experiences growing up as a Muslim Afghan refugee in Wollongong.
"We struggled with resettlement, we barely had any support," he said.
"I never felt safe but I didn't relay that information to my parents.
"I could see they were trying to go through their own process of resettlement."
He said he understood the religious needs of the Muslim refugees.
"Recently I've been trying to connect them with a Shia mosque in Cringila," he said.
The youth development worker said he pursued social work to help minority groups, challenge discrimination and promote indigenous peoples' well-being.
He has organised hip hop, graffiti, boxing and cooking programs, frequented by migrants and indigenous youth, for Wollongong Youth Services.