Refugee Week
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Abang’s story

The Journey

When Abang was just five years old, she was forced to flee her home country of Sudan. Her father, a university professor turned political advocate, faced threats due to his work and the family were scared for their safety. Abang left with her father, while her mother and siblings stayed behind.  She initially fled to Ethiopia, but the ongoing conflict there forced them to return. They lived in rebel-held areas, where young Abang was exposed to the atrocities of war, developing coping mechanisms to survive the trauma. Eventually, she and her father were able to escape once more, this time to Kenya.  There, school became her refuge and a source of empowerment through education. Abang’s father returned to Sudan to continue his advocacy but was captured and tragically assassinated. Abang was then raised by two elderly relatives, until moving to Kakuma refugee camp, where she was able to secure a humanitarian visa to Australia.

Arriving in Australia

In 2018, Abang arrived in Australia alone, an 18-year-old with aspirations for a new start. She was assisted by a local organisation into a women’s shelter, where she received the support needed to rebuild her life. Her unexpected entry into the world of modelling provided not only a livelihood, but, through the travel involved, a pathway to a joyful reunion with her mother and siblings, ending years of separation.

Giving Back

Now, Abang is a public educator, refugee ambassador, author, and researcher, dedicated to using her experiences for the betterment of others. Through public speaking and writing an autobiography, she aims to enlighten the Australian community about the refugee experience and the transformative power of education. “I know that every refugee has their own unique journey,” says Abang, “but what unites us all is the ultimate healing that we must all go through to powerfully transform our lives.” Abang’s work is a testament to the belief that with support and opportunity, refugees can profoundly enrich and contribute to their new communities.

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