Community leader lights up events calendar in City of Swan

  • 19 October 2022

Meena Rabadia is a force to be reckoned with. Behind a big smile and chatty persona is a determined mind that dares to make change in a big way.

In 2021, she had the idea to hold the first Diwali Festival north of the Swan River. In collaboration with BeFriend Inc and Brabham Multicultural Club, the festival was organised in less than 10 weeks, and what started out as three pages of notes turned into a successful event of music, dancing, art and food, enjoyed by 4,500 attendees. Due to the success of the inaugural event, Brabham Diwali Festival will return on 22nd October 2022.

While this event is no mean feat, Meena is a regular on the events scene, with knowledge of the process and organisation involved.

She is a key member of the Ellenbrook Community Collective, which is responsible for events such as Christmas in Elfenbrook, Targa West, and the Aveley Community Festival.

group of people taking a selfie

“These festivals see up to 20,000 people throughout the day, who come from all over the City of Swan with lots of local schools and community groups taking part. We have fireworks to end the day at Elfenbrook, but it’s such a festive evening that people don’t want to leave.”

Meena is also a member of Brabham Primary School P&C, despite her daughter being of university age.

“The school principal knows how active I am in the community, so asked me to join. I suggested a Colour Run, based on Holi Festival, and it brings the whole school together. It’s going to become an annual event.”

While Meena is involved in numerous small and big-scale events all over the City of Swan, she still remembers her first introduction to the events scene – a Harmony Week event in 2008, following an encounter with the city’s then-events coordinator at her daughter’s school in Ellenbrook.

Meena moved to Ellenbrook from Kenya in 2006, and has since lived in Dayton and now Brabham, with her influence felt all across the city.

group of people on a stage

“Coming from Kenya, where people have suffered and there is not a lot of opportunity, Australia gives me equal opportunity and freedom to do whatever I want to do. Everyone is always so busy, but at events, we can bring people together and put a smile on their faces. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, I still work from home, which is very isolating. It’s so important to get people out of the house and to socialise.”

She has also inspired others in her community who want to help, reaching out to her with advice on where to start. She gives her food donations to Midland Meals as an example.

“I’ve joined lots of Facebook groups and pages where I ask for blankets, food, juice… I clarify that it’s not for me but for a charity, and others ask how they can help. You could make meals at Easter or Christmas, or vegetarian meals. I encourage people to take it themselves, so they know where it’s going. It’s important to spread word of the organisations and charities, and to recognise all community members who donate. I want to be positively infectious!”

group of people holding certificates on stage

For all of the above and more, Meena was recognised in the 2022 Community Citizen of the Year Awards with a Certificate of Appreciation from City of Swan. Say ‘thank you’ to someone amazing in your local community by nominating them for 2023. Nominations close 31 October 2022 at

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