Liyon

Liyon

I am 21 years old and arrived in Australia in May 2015, with my parents, two sisters and my younger brother. We are originally from Iraq, but when I was 13 years old, the conflict and growing instability in our home country forced us to flee Iraq and head to Turkey.

We lived in Turkey for eight years, in an area three hours from the capital. We had limited rights - Arab children had no rights to education, so I never went to school. I spent my time working and trying to help out other people who, like us, were in desperate circumstances.

Our family was sponsored by another family to migrate to Australia from Turkey, and I am so happy to be in Australia. Everything is different here and there are completely different customs and traditions. Although everything is new and foreign to me, I have now started making friends and I have realised that people are caring. With my settlement worker, we have explored my emotions and ideas about the past and the future.

I am reflecting on what I have been through and I wonder whether the people I have come across know what my life has been like. I have met the staff at Centrelink, at the school and at the doctor’s clinic. They have all been nice and have had an interpreter to help with communication. But I don’t think they know what we have been exposed to and the hardships we have lived through... they don’t really ask about my past.

I am optimistic about my future. I have many dreams and many ambitions. For now, my biggest challenge is learning English. I know that if I learn English, many doors will open and I might be able to enter the police force or the Australian Defence Force one day.