09 Feb 2022News
Afghan refugee and former interpreter faring well in new home
Zahid Aboobakr is optimistic about his future in Australia.
From 2009 to 2012, he worked with a military security company as an interpreter. Following this role, he worked for five years in finance for an international non-governmental organisation, Muslim Hands International. He said that he lived a regular life before the Taliban.
“Everything became lost, and lots of issues for everyone,” he said.
“I lived in a dangerous district, and before the Taliban takeover, they had planted a Magnetic bomb near my house, and the blast caused great damage to our home and area.
“I then forwarded an email to the Australian Government for assistance as my life was at risk and was granted a humanitarian visa.”
Mr Aboobakr resides in his short-term accommodation, and, like other Afghan evacuees, received immediate support from Settlement Services International through the Australian Government’s Humanitarian Settlement Program funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs* to access essential services and integrate into Australian life.
When asked how he’s faring so far in Australia, he said that despite not knowing anyone before arriving in the country, he found support through SSI and the Afghan Community Support Association (ACSA) of NSW.
“Lots of Afghan here, ACSA supported us,” he said.
“Feeling very happy, don’t have any issue about our lives, but I miss my family, who were not able to be evacuated and I fear and am distressed for their safety.
“Special thanks to the Australian Government for helping us.”
SSI recently enrolled Mr Aboobakr in a workshop about life in Australia, which he found beneficial.
“I went to a course about knowing life in Australia, and there are lots of opportunities for learning.”
When asked what he hopes his new life to be, he said it might be challenging to find the same job.
“I will work very hard and try my best and learn more.
“It’s difficult to find same job when I’m starting from zero, but it’s not a problem. I have a lot of opportunities here.”
Mr Aboobakr attended and played at the SSI and Cricket Australia launch event in late 2021.
He said he used to play cricket for his village team but hasn’t picked up the bat for over two years.
“I played cricket in Afghanistan for my village team and would like to continue playing cricket in Australia.”
“I like cricket and like to watch the game.”
*For information about Australia’s settlement program visit, https://homeaffairs.gov.au/