Success Stories

Arash Bordbar, who came to Australia as a refugee, is taking his passion to help others to an international level in a bid to shed light on the issues affecting young refugees and people seeking asylum.

Arash Bordbar, 22, is in front of a garden.
Arash Bordbar, 22, is creating awareness of issues faced by young refugees.

Set to take place in Geneva in June, the consultations bring together NGOs and partners from across the globe to discuss issues such as human rights, barriers to education, and issues facing women and children at risk. Youth education and employment forms the key theme for the 2016 consultations.

“There are some topics I want to focus on and advocate for, mostly about youth and young people from diverse backgrounds, or those people that came from hardship and the problems they faced,” Mr Bordbar said.

Arash is particularly passionate about education as he believes it is the first stepping stone to future happiness for many young refugees.

“Study was the most important thing for me when I was facing problems. If I could study, I could see people, become wiser, gain more knowledge, and get more hope,” he said.

“When you don’t have a good education, when you can’t study, you think you don’t really have a bright future.”

Before  arriving in Australia last May, Arash, his mother and younger brother spent five years in Malaysia after dangers in their native country, Iran, forced them to flee.

While awaiting approval to come to Australia, Arash finished his high school studies and picked up conversational English. He then developed fluent English skills and began volunteering as a translator for a not-for-profit refugee organisation.

Arash went on to volunteer for the UNHCR, where he spent two years providing translation services and helping other refugees and asylum seekers navigate life in Malaysia.

Helping other people is particularly important for Arash, who attributes much of his success to date to external support, including guidance from his SSI case manager.

“I couldn’t do it alone,” he said. “My case worker really helped me. It was very good.”

Arash is now an active participant in SSI’s Youth Collective initiative and is currently working to organise a youth summit in March, which will bring together young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to share insights and ideas about human rights and global change.

Arash, was recently accepted into UWS to study engineering and now wants to ensure that other young refugees have the same opportunities he has had.

“We can reach to wherever we want,” he said. “Nothing is impossible for us. We are human as other humans. We have the same rights and we should just not listen to any rejection. We can do it.”