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Get insight into refugee camp in latest showcase

refugee tour guide Hanan with marsden high School Students....story Kim....photo Daniela gedz 29/7/19

ESCAPING the war in Syria, Hanan had just one thought after arriving in Australia: “I am safe here.”

One of a group of volunteer tour guides who are either former refugees or currently seeking asylum, she is sharing her story as part of the award winning interactive Refugee Camp in my Neighbourhood exhibition at the Auburn Centre for Community until August 9.
While in the past the exhibition has focused on the physical and mental battle of the refugee journey, this year it examines employment stories, including those like Hanan who have lost their professions to the realities of their circumstances as a refugee.
Working first as a mechanical engineer in Syria before becoming a teacher, she says there weren’t many women in her field.
“I became a teacher, teaching young boys’ mechanical engineering and enjoyed this a lot,” she said.
Also facing a new world of life and career choices, 18-year-old Shaqaeq says she was amazed at all the opportunities available to her and is keen to give back to her community, particularly to those who have gone through hardship.
“I came here with my family and siblings from Afghanistan through Iran,” she said.
“We didn’t have much opportunity in Iran to pursue studies, work and volunteer.”
Now studying Digital Media and volunteering with numerous organisations, the teen’s most recent start-up Directa is a platform providing a multi-lingual directory that serves the specific needs of migrants and refugees.
“In five year’s time I see myself owning my own international business,” she said.
A community celebration event including workshops, activities and food stalls will be held this Saturday, August 3, from 11.30am. Free family-friendly tours of the exhibition will also run from 9am-5pm, with bookings essential via eventbrite.com.au.