Refugee Week

Sophie’s story

The Journey

Sophie spent her first 25 years in Syria, a life she remembers as safe and vibrant, filled with university studies, friendships, and travel. However, in 2011, the outbreak of war dramatically changed her life, introducing a new normal – one without electricity, water, or internet for months on end. By 2015, the situation had worsened, and she was forced to escape to Lebanon with no opportunity to bid farewell to her loved ones, and minimal belongings. As the conflict in Aleppo intensified, her family joined her, having narrowly escaped the bombing of their own home. After an anxious wait, they were profoundly relieved to be accepted for resettlement in Australia.

Arriving in Australia

Upon arriving in Australia, Sophie felt welcomed and valued by her new community.  The support that she and her family received, she says, greatly facilitated her integration into her new community. “I appreciated the freedom in Australia,” she adds. “Here, I could choose what to study, where to work and how to live. I love the multiculturalism in Australia, and how everyone is free to believe and express themselves.” Motivated by these opportunities, she pursued further study and, now works as both a dance instructor and community facilitator, managing projects, activities and events.

Giving Back

Now an active participant in the Refugee Council’s Refugee Stories for Change program, Sophie sees her involvement as a chance to share her journey and inspire others. She adds: “I believe refugees are skilful and have valuable qualifications, knowledge and experience, and, if given the chance, would contribute to the Australian community and make this a better place for everyone”.

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