Syria used to be a very safe place. I spent 25 years there, going to university, hanging out with friends and travelling. In 2011, when the war broke out, we started to feel threatened. We then became used to experiencing life without electricity, water and internet connection for months.
In 2015 I went to Lebanon and ended up staying there with the little I had packed. I didn’t get to say my goodbyes to family and friends, and started to work to afford my expenses. The war continued to worsen in Aleppo and my family decided to come to Lebanon after my father narrowly escaped the bombing of our place by five minutes. We waited impatiently after applying to Australia, and one day we received news that we had been accepted.
Arriving in Australia
Since arriving, I have felt welcomed and valued. I received a lot of support from organisations and individuals who helped me settle into my new home. I appreciated the freedom in Australia; 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 with respect. I started taking courses in fields that interested me, and two years later I started working in a job that I enjoy, one that lets me give back to society.
I’m grateful to be part of the Refugee Council program. I see this as an opportunity to tell my story and inspire someone. 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.