SSI News Blog

Faten, a former refugee who fled to Lebanon from her birth country, Iraq, says that since arriving in Australia she feels like she has been treated as a human for the first time.

Faten has two siblings with disability and an elderly mother, who are now receiving treatments they were in desperate need of.

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Former refugee Faten has embraced, and been embraced by, Australia.

“There is no special treatment for people with a disability in Iraq,” she said through an interpreter.

Faten also spoke about other Australian systems and ways of life that she is impressed with.

“Education is at a very low level over there,” she said. “There is corruption and sometimes you have to pay the teachers to get children their certificates.

“When a woman goes to a local government office to access services, some ask for sexual favours in order to deliver services to her.

“There is discrimination against Christians and other non-mainstream religions in Iraq, especially when it comes to employment.”

Once, Faten recalls, she went to withdraw her elderly mother's money from the bank and was abused because of her religion. Then the family’s house was taken from them.

“In Australia, it is different to all of this,” Faten said. “Here there is equality between men and women.”

Faten had many positive things to say about Australia’s systems of education and government. 

“And they support me to look after my two brothers with disability and my old mother.”

Success stories

Kamiran and Zozan - A taste of Syria in Coffs Harbour

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Kamiran and Zozan came to Australia from Syria with their family two years ago. Their life in Syria revolved around owning a restaurant specialising in delicious, local cuisine, frequented by friends, family and the community on a regular basis. Here in Australia, they’re re-discovering their passion for food, and are looking to bring a taste of Syria for the Coffs Harbour community to enjoy.

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