The People’s Band


Tomas Tesfamicheal is a member of a local award-winning band on the Coffs Coast.

His family arrived in Australia, speaking no English in 2011; his eldest sister Senait worked hard through TAFE and then worked in hospitality to keep their family going. She ran a tight ship for someone with so much responsibility while still so young – they all had their nights to cook and jobs to do in the home. They also set themselves up as a go-to family for new arrivals from Africa in Coffs Harbour and made them feel welcome and helped them navigate their way around.

Fanus (2013), Tomas (2014) and Miriam (2016) all completed their HSC through BDC, our wonderful teachers supporting them and teaching them about what education in Australia … although we never managed to teach Miriam to come to school in the rain or to be on time anywhere!! They all had jobs in town but the girls are now moving to Melbourne to start university next year while Tomas will be staying in Coffs Harbour.

Tomas is a member of a band called “The Brothers” which has been supported by a local artist development program, Grow the Music. Three members started to put songs together in a refugee camp in Malawi, Africa. The Brothers have made local headlines, winning the 2015 Start Productions Youth Talent night, and taking out the winning application for Youth Bands at the 2015 Bellingen Winter Music Festival. They have since performed each year at the Bello Winter Music Festival. The band is releasing the debut EP, “Upendo” meaning “love” in Swahili, at Sawtell later this month.


Tomas is on the far right. The family dropped in to school recently to say thank you and goodbye and it was just lovely to see how happy and excited they are about what is to come next. So thank you BDC on their behalf, another example of a gorgeous family we have been so fortunate to have had enrolled in our school.