Our board shares a common love and vision for connecting those who want to help with those who need help.
Mrs Moyalia Tokmak ( President)
One fateful day many years ago as synchronicity weaves her magical way I was handed a flyer that was calling for help in an orphanage in Nepal. As my journey unfolded each step was directing me closer toward visiting the city of Kathmandu.
Some years later I arrived in this beautiful ancient city and immediately sensed there was a powerful energy of goodwill emanating from the smiles of every person I would pass. It was here that my life took on a different meaning - a new calling.
As my friend drove me further out of the bustling city I felt a tremendous sense of clarity, an awareness that I was in a moment of divine intervention; an unaccountable, quiet excitement started coursing through me that suggested something pretty remarkable was taking place in my life.
“Namaste!” my friend called out, and in moments we were engulfed by the kind and cheerful children , some eager, some shy, as they welcomed us into the house . The spirit that came like a cloud around us was thick with love. That was my first memory and deep knowing that I felt called to work with the beautiful people of Nepal.
Years later as I reflect on this moment I felt that all of my life's work has been in preparing me for this moment, and I am ready.
As a child growing up, certain events sparked a humanitarian interest for me and GOODWILL VILLAGE evolved from a dream I had always had to help underprivileged women and children of the world.
After the 2015 earthquake I was deeply moved by the images of the extreme poverty and desperate circumstances many of the people in some of the remote areas encountered . The warmth, gentleness and empathy of the Nepali people gets into your soul and you are forever changed.
I believe that Education, more than any other factor, can provide hope, opportunities and job security to future generations of Nepali children. Nepal needs leaders and those disadvantaged young people need the opportunity to be empowered and have a voice.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
Mr Irfan Tokmak ( Director)
In 1998 Irfan moved to the beautiful garden City of Toowoomba to pursue a business venture. Irfan had previously worked as a chef in London, Canada and New Zealand before residing in Sydney where he was a successful business owner.
Irfan Tokmak was born in Kayseri Turkey but his heritage is Circassian. Growing up in a very simple humble home Irfan learnt from a very early age the value of survival and close family ties. " it takes a village to raise a child" is indicative of Irfans early upbringing. He can relate to the hardship being endured by many of the Nepali families and is keen to help in the restoration of their beloved country. He is the proud father of one beautiful daughter Yeliz and one granddaughter Ruby Lola.
Irfan travelled to Toowoomba during Spring amid the Carnival of Flowers celebrations and was immediately captivated by the beautiful garden city. His business partner at the time purchased the Karingal Chambers located in the Bell Street Mall . Together they created one of Toowoomba's culinary icons the National Award Winning Cafe Karingal.
It was during his successful ownership of Cafe Karingal that Irfan with his creative mind, huge reserves of energy and a vision for something unique opened one of Toowoomba's first Indian restaurants .
The Bindi Spot very quickly became known for its colourful and lavish decor and delicious Indian Cuisine. After 7 highly successful years Irfan watched as Indian restaurants seemed to mushroom overnight.
A new idea was being born. This was the opportunity for Irfan to embrace his very own culture with the opening of Sofra Turkish Cuisine.
SOFRA TURKISH CUISINE is the first Turkish restaurant to have ever opened in the Darling Downs and since its opening in 2011 has been fully booked every night with guests travelling from afar.
Irfan has a deep love for the people of Nepal and has always helped those young people arriving from Nepal to find work within his restaurant. He currently employs 10 Nepali staff as chefs and kitchen hands .
Irfan visited Nepal and fell in love with the country − its stunning landscape and generous people. When he learnt of the devastation of April 25th 2015 he knew he had to help.
"I'm incredibly grateful to all those who've helped out along the way and have supported us to rebuild the school in Satyadevi."
With an adventurous spirit and a love of trekking Irfan says " there is a lot of empathy for how the Nepalese have coped and the images of determination and resilience that were broadcast around the world may have led to much admiration, and encouraged people around the world to give generously.
Thankyou for helping us build the Shree Bachchhala Devi Higher School Dhading Nepal.
Ms Freda Coorey (Secretary)
My history is born to lebanese immigrants who settled in australia in the mid fifties. I have an awareness of importance of maintaining cultural background and blending of the best of both worlds...for the here ..now..and tomorrow. My career path has been in nursing ..specialising in neonatal care. I believe that we can make a difference through the rebuilding of the school. Through the provision of resources we can help the young people of this spiritual country to rebuild in their communities.
Mr Naim Tabihk (Treasurer)
My name is Mohamed ‘Michael’ Tabikh, I was born in Lebanon, came to Australia in 1970 at the age of 21. Married in 1974 and I am the father of four adult sons and nine beautiful grandchildren.
For as long as I can remember I have been very interested in humanitarian issues around the world. My earliest recollection is of the plight of the Algerian people against the French occupation in 1955. I worked towards a career in Medicine because of my passion to help the most vulnerable people, but unfortunately, I had to leave Lebanon in 1970 and sadly, also had to abandon my medical studies in my third year at University.
Since my arrival in Australia, I’ve worked in the Personnel Office of a large car manufacturer in Sydney. I obtained this, my first job because I speak several languages. I then work in computers for about 4 years until I decided to return to study. After finishing my Accounting studies I have worked in that field till my retirement last year. I now enjoy doing volunteer work.
My heart and my thoughts has always been with those who are in need and those who do not have a voice. My wish is for a world where our wealth is shared amongst all, when education and medical care is not limited to those who can afford to pay for it. I look forward to a time when everyone comes to recognise that we are all part of one big human family.
Mr Mangal Gurung (Nepali representative , Satyadevi is his home )
Mangal Gurung is one of the chefs of Sofra Turkish Cuisine, who moved to Australia 7 years ago. He was born and raised in Satyadevi Village, Dhading, Nepal. The earthquake in April 25, 2015 devastated Mangal as everyone, especially when his village turned into rubble and now is alive in memories only. Mangal is very passionate, hardworking and >endeavoured to help Goodwill Village Project to be successful to help his village and country to rise again. With his compassion combined with knowledge of Satyadevi local people and their culture, Mangal is a valuable member of Goodwill Village.Mangal is very excited and looks forward to long and happy association with Goodwill Village..
Mrs Judi McKenzie
I am delighted to be involved in a small way with the inspiring group of people working on the Goodwill Village project. It has been wonderful to get to know Moyalia and Irfan and to understand their personal passion for making a positive change to the local community of Satyadevi, Dhading in Nepal. To think that a small group of passionate and committed people in Toowoomba can partner with a like-minded non-profit organisation on the ground in Nepal to bring about positive change is a wonderful thing. Such a unique project to contribute to and a sincere privilege. I am very happy to do whatever I can to assist with the goal of rebuilding the local secondary school and additional local projects. I have never had the opportunity to visit Nepal but I have a strong community commitment which started many years ago. More recently I have also had the opportunity to be involved for many years as a board member of Huntingtons Victoria (a specialist service in Victoria to support and assist people affected by Huntington's Disease).
These roles have hopefully equipped me in some way to contribute to the work of the Goodwill Village and I am very much looking forward to assisting where I can.
Mr Om Bista
Hello everyone,I came to Australia to do my Hotel management course,after fininshing my study i started working in my profession and settled here.Even though I am living here I have always wanted to do something for Nepal.Today,I feel really honoured to be the part of Goodwill Village,as our objective is to help the local communities living in remote areas of Nepal.So,we will be working together on the areas of health,education and livelihood of these people.A little effort can make a big difference in their life,so lets work together.