Refugee Week

Sorgul Maho

I arrived in Australia in July 2018 with my family on a refugee humanitarian visa. Prior to that, I lived in Turkey for four years following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

I was born in Northern Syria (Rojava) in a small town called Afrin. I grew up in a double minority group with being both Kurdish and Yazidi during a time when people from religious and ethnic minorities were being discriminated and their identity was taken away to be forcibly identified as Arabs and mostly Muslims.

I completed high school and was the first female in my family to enrol into university. I completed two years of English language and literature at Aleppo University. However, I had to leave university in 2012 when the situation in Aleppo worsened and it was not safe to stay there anymore. I worked as an English teacher for the internally displaced students in my town until 2014.

The Journey
In 2014, my family had no choice but to leave for Turkey as the conflict escalated in our town. My parents were worried about our safety given the lack of security in the country.
I had four difficult years in Turkey. As a refugee, I faced discrimination because of my Syrian-Kurdish-Yazidi background. However, these hard four years were rewarded finally with a refugee humanitarian visa to Australia.

Arriving to Australia
In 2018, I had the opportunity to dream again and to have hope that the future would be brighter, beyond the basic need for safety. My family and I were grateful to see many welcoming people meeting us in the airport in Toowoomba and the support received in our resettlement journey to Australia.

Giving Back
Since arriving in Australia, I have worked hard on achieving my dreams, helping my community and other refugee and asylum-seeking communities, and giving back to the country that gave me back my freedom, dignity, and identity.
I am currently in my final year of my Bachelor of Arts degree program, majoring in International Relations and Social Justice Studies at the University of Southern Queensland. I work as a Health Educator, translator. I also work with refugees and asylum seekers at the Dignity Project and provide mentorship to students from non-English speaking background through my university.

I am now a storyteller and an ambassador for the Refugee council of Australia, and I share my story of resettlement to educate the wider Australian public on the global refugee conditions and ways to support the refugee community.

You can book Sorgul for a speaking presentation via our Face-to-Face program here.

Please note that speakers are confirmed once a booking has been made and will be based on their availability.

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