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18 Jun 2024

Case Studies

Syrian journalist brings inspiring career to Australia and plans to be a ‘voice for the voiceless’ 

A passionate storyteller and social activist, Dima brought an impressive career history to her new home in Australia and plans to continue her work in helping solve challenges faced by migrants and refugees.

“Everyone has a story worth telling. Bringing people’s stories to life has been my passion and vision of choice since I learned to talk. I strongly believe in the transformative power of journalism to bring about positive change in the world. Even if it’s a small change, I will always grasp it to try to make our world a better place,” Dima reflected. 

Dima graduated with a degree in Journalism from Damascus University in 2014. Since then, she has built a versatile, decade-long career in journalism, working as a radio show host, editor-in-chief, and BBC Extra reporter covering the Syrian war. She also founded her own social media and marketing consultancy.

Originally from Syria, Dima arrived in Australia in 2023 from Iraq where she had been living with her two brothers for two years after fleeing the war. 

“I was excited to start my new journey in Australia. From the moment we arrived, SSI’s team guided us through how to set up our new life here, including opening bank accounts, accessing Medicare, and getting settled in a house. They also helped me update my CV and cover letter to align with Australian standards,” Dima recounted.

Dima’s ambition, tenacity, and preparation have always driven her career success, allowing her to land her dream job in record time. “Before arriving in Australia, I aspired to work for SBS Australia because I could see myself there as a journalist and content producer. I started following the organisation and keeping an eye out for any vacancies,” she said.

Just four months after arriving, a job opportunity for a Digital Producer role opened at SBS. She applied and was offered the position.

“The best way to reach people in this new era is as a digital producer, through digital platforms. I can create stories, videos, and audio, as well as present and host. It’s an open space for me, I believe I have what it takes to achieve a more significant impact on humanity, and I want to continue working on this in Australia,” Dima said.

“I found my dream job, but believe me, it’s not always easy. As a new immigrant, I am learning about Australia with our audience and my team! In my work, I often introduce Australia to our audience, by explaining Australia’s culture, news, and history. My work makes me learn quicker, personally and as a journalist. It’s a great learning journey,” she reflected.

Dima considers herself lucky compared to other professional refugees who must go through stricter processes to land a job that matches their skills and expertise. In fact, Dima’s brother is a doctor and despite passing the required medical exams and applying for hundreds of jobs, he hasn’t been able to secure a placement yet.

While there are many obstacles refugees face when trying to land their dream role in a new country, Dima’s experiences show preparation can make the journey smoother.

“If you plan ahead and come prepared, life becomes easier. In almost all cases, this involves improving your English, as communication is key. Even before coming to Australia, I began working on my English, and I am still working on it.”

On the other hand, some obstacles can only be overcome if Australian employers do their part. 

“How can we gain Australian work experience as newcomers if we aren’t given a chance? We deserve an opportunity to showcase our skills and expertise that we brought with us rather than being immediately rejected.”

Dima now dreams of exploring the world once she gets her Australian passport. “I have always wanted to travel and discover the world, but unfortunately, with a Syrian passport, it is just not possible. I can’t wait to go to Europe to visit my friends and explore new cultures.” 

Learn how you can get involved and support refugees shape their own path this Refugee Week. Find out more about our campaign and events near you.

 Join the campaign to break down barriers so skilled refugees and migrants can work in their fields of expertise and contribute billions to Australia’s economy. Learn more about our Billion Dollar Benefit campaign.

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