About Us

Our Story

Kindness Shake (KS)  is a community and student-led initiative, launched during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It supports and focuses on international students, migrants, refugees and temporary visa holders who are experiencing financial difficulties. This partnership between international student volunteers, education and training providers,  local businesses, multi-cultural groups and Governments aims to ensure that no one in the NT affected by the crisis goes to bed without a meal and a kind and genuine smile.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SETTLEMENT

Facilitating international student settlement in the Northern Territory includes tailored plans, orientation sessions, and cultural events to reduce challenges. Key actions comprise developing Settlement Plans, arranging affordable accommodation, informing students about local services, collaborating with existing student communities for airport pickups, and enhancing English language skills.

EMPLOYABILITY

Improving international students’ career prospects includes linking them with local employers, offering workshops, and mentorship. This goal seeks to enhance students’ job awareness and skills while creating networking chances. Key actions involve working with local businesses, skill programs with experts and institutions, and hosting “Skill up 2 Scale up” networking events.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Fostering interaction between international students and local residents through community events, partnerships, and government support. It offers international students opportunities for volunteering, cultural exchange, and multicultural exposure, culminating in the annual Kindness Festival. Key actions include facilitating volunteering, engaging with First Nation students and Elders, and promoting multiculturalism.

ADVOCACY

Advocates for international students’ rights, collaborating with institutions, and raising awareness. It aims to empower students by providing legal guidance and support, fostering knowledge, access to resources, and dignity, and contributing to their well-being and success in the community.

Our Team

Ben Poveda-Alfonso
CO-FOUNDER

Ben is a passionate advocate for multiculturalism, youth empowerment, and international education. He held leadership positions during his studies, such as President of the CDU Students’ Association. Currently a Policy Officer for the NT Government, he’s committed to improving the welfare of international students. Ben’s accolades include the 2020 CDU International Alumnus Award and being a finalist for the 2020 Excellence in Youth Leadership Award in NT.

Ali Dhirani
STRATEGY, GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION

Ali, a Tanzanian graduate in Accounting from Charles Darwin University, was deeply involved in student leadership and community service during his studies. He served as a Peer Assisted Study Session leader, tutor, and representative on the Academic Board. Post-graduation, Ali, now based in the Northern Territory, transitioned from roles as an Auditor to becoming a successful entrepreneur, running his own business.

Zitan “Sunny” Liu
MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA

Sunny, originally from China, moved to Darwin in 2019 after six years in Australia. Currently pursuing a Master’s in Teaching at Charles Darwin University, she previously worked as a journalist in Melbourne. Engaged with the Kindness Shake from its start, Sunny loves Darwin’s welcoming community, multicultural vibe, and stunning landscapes. As a StudyNT Student Ambassador and Public Relations Officer at Charles Darwin University Students’ Council, she actively promotes the Territory as an ideal study destination.

Jimena Espitia
MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA

Jimena, a proud Latina from Colombia, describes herself as charismatic, kind, independent, and positively ambitious. With a professional background in Marketing and Advertising, holding a postgraduate degree in Market Research and Consumer Behaviour, she spent over five years in Marketing and Market Research in the Events industry in Colombia. Passionate about leaving a legacy of social and human conscience, she achieves this goal by helping the international student community. Jimena has also volunteered for various social and religious organizations in Colombia, enhancing her human sensibility and social conscience.

Manfred Mletsin
MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA

Manfred, an Estonian student completing his Bachelor of Accounting at Charles Darwin University, is deeply engaged in international education. With a background in Business Management, he’s been a StudyNT Student Ambassador for three years and held roles in the Council of International Students Australia, advocating for education, health, and wellbeing of international students. Manfred, also a Public Relations Officer with CISA, collaborates with key organizations in the field. With expertise in branding and business management, he runs his own small business, considering the Northern Territory his second home.

Ana Nuñez
VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT

Ana, originally from Argentina and in Australia since 2012, holds a background in Political Science and studied Education at Charles Darwin University. Currently teaching foundation English and settlement skills at STEPS AMEP and Training, she passionately connects with students worldwide, emphasizing the importance of education for change. Ana, a Spanish interpreter for the Northern Territory Government and the Australian Department of Home Affairs, recently launched her translation business. Her true joy lies in inspiring and supporting international students and migrants to reach their full potential.

Tatenda Mapuranga
VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT

Tatenda, hailing from Zimbabwe, recently graduated from Charles Darwin University with a degree in Business. Inspired by friends, he became an advocate for students, volunteering as the Human Resources Manager for the Council of International Students Australia. Tatenda continued his involvement with the Charles Darwin University Students’ Association, contributing to student-led events. Affectionately known as “Tate,” he now serves as the International Student Support and Enquiries Officer at Charles Darwin University Global.

Thach “Kylie” Thao Tran
EVENT MANAGEMENT

Kylie, from Vietnam, is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Accounting at CDU. Despite the challenges of studying abroad, especially during the onset of COVID-19, Kylie embraces the positive aspects. During the pandemic, she turned to volunteering and joined The Kindness Shake, finding both friends and connections. Twice a week, she volunteers at RSPCA, caring for dogs seeking adoption—a source of joy and a remedy for missing her own pets. A dog lover, yoga enthusiast, avid cook, and photography enthusiast, Kylie is a firm believer in inspiring change and encourages others to appreciate it too.

Denis Mitrov
PARTNERSHIPS, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND FUNDRAISING

Denis Mitrov, a Swiss-Croatian dual citizen and international student at Alana Kaye College, represents a blend of values from both cultures. Stepping out of his structured life to grow and explore, he chose Darwin. Amidst personal challenges, he founded Connecting Experiences and a Podcast to provide support. Joining The Kindness Shake team, Denis is committed to positive actions. He believes in treating others well, sees goodness in the world, and enjoys engaging in long and intense discussions.

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