I was only 6 months old when my dad got killed in the war, so I don’t have any memories of him. Mum was always the only person providing for us. She worked in the daytime as a midwife, and at night in the emergency department helping people who had been hurt by the bombs. Sometimes there was nobody to take care of me so she had to take me with her to the hospital, and I saw a lot of people who had been badly injured.
One day, a helicopter dropped a bomb in front of our house. There was a big bang and suddenly all the windows were shattered, and I stood there not knowing what to do. I still remember all of this – it flashes, and all the memories come back.
Then the Taliban came, and our life changed overnight. One day, my mum came home and said she had to wear a burkha. The next day they announced no female doctors or nurses were allowed to work. My sister and I were no longer allowed to go to school, and we could not leave the house unless a male was accompanying us, as you could be killed. It was very difficult for a house full of women. My grandfather was very old and he could walk with us but would not have been able to protect us. It was a desperate situation for us, and eventually we decided to leave the country. At that time I was 10.
We took a bus to go to the border of Pakistan: me, my sister, my mum, my grandfather, my aunty and her daughter. The Taliban had banned TV, books, music and even photos, so I was hiding a photo album I was carrying with some photos of my dad in the pocket of my burkha, and I felt so nervous. Then a little boy came on to the bus who had to physically touch you to check what you had on you. As soon as I saw him checking my mum, I pulled out the album and slid it under my sister’s seat and got her to stand up so he wouldn’t be able to see it. Luckily he didn’t notice, and we still have those photos now.
We stayed in Pakistan for 4 years. There was no work for my mother there, so we relied on the money my aunty in Australia sent us. Finally, she was able to sponsor us to come to Australia as refugees.
We went to live in Auburn in Sydney. I was 15 at that time, and it was hard to adjust at first. Everything was new. I missed my grandfather and my cousin, and I didn’t speak much English. I had also missed many years of school due to the war, and making friends was hard. I was quite shy. I was even nervous about going to the shops to say something in English but I had to. And day by day I grew more confident. In the end, I scored 79 on the HSC. I was still not very happy with it but I suppose I did well really considering everything.
I married at 19 and had my first daughter when I was 20, followed by two more. But I was eventually able to study online. First I did a Diploma in Computer Science, then I did a Diploma in Community Services and Counselling, and I am now in my second year of a Bachelor of Social Work. I also started working. My first job was as a women’s project officer, and I then found work as a bilingual support worker. Next, I worked as an Afghan youth officer and I now work as a cultural support worker with Afghan women who are experiencing domestic violence. It really disappoints me to see how these women have to suffer in a country like Australia, after leaving their country in search for peace and freedom. I try to be there for them not only culturally, but also emotionally. My big dream is to go back home when my kids are grown up and work with Afghan women there.
Recently, my eldest daughter did a speech at school about my life experience and she got a very good mark and went to the finals for it. I am very happy I can bring some of my stories to show people what it means to be a refugee, and why people have to leave their country.
We don’t want to leave unless there is a good reason.
Photographer: Anne Casey www.facebook.com/silverpepperphotography
Read other inspirational stories in the just released New Humans of Australia Book 2 ????❤️ www.newhumansofaustralia.org/shop
#refugees #refugeescontribute #Afghanistan #Australia #storiesnotstereotypes
Welcome to Australia Sudhaba.
I wonder what happened to her grandpa and cousin?
Wow – going from almost no schooling to a Bachelor of Social Work – you must have had to have worked SO hard.
I have noticed such a grand theme in all of these stories – of self sacrifice and of using the Australian opportunity to serve and care for others.
Thanks so much Sudhaba, for all of your hard work in helping to make Australia a better place for all of us – I’m so glad you’re here!
What an amazing story! And an amazing woman. ♥️
You are such an asset to this country. Thank you for choosing Australia. We are richer for your presence.
Thank you for the amazing contributions you have been making to our country. You are very welcome here, and I hope you and your family continues to live a peaceful life together here.
Wow! Amazing story! Everyone should read this and understand those reasons for leaving
Australia is a better place for people like you Sudhaba.
We are so fortunate to have you here with us in Australia with your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Life takes you where it needs you to be. Keep following your Dreams, you will always be strong enough to achieve them. Your children are living proof that you are making a difference. Thank you for sharing you story.
Thank you for sharing your story and all your incredible hard work with your studies. You are such an asset to Australia ❤❤
Such an inspiration. I hope you are happy Sudhaba.
So lucky to have you as an Australian Sudhaba. All the best to your family.
You are amazing! How people go through incredible hardship and come out so strong and successful and able to help others is a testament to true courage. Well done for the wonderful things you have achieved in your life. You really are amazing ????
Thanks for sharing your story Sudhaba! I’m sure you will fulfil your dream!! ????????
I find it amazing that so many of these refugee stories who have fled from hell all seem to come here and embark on a career purely to help others. Thank you. ????
Thank you for your story. It’s wonderful that you have found safety here. And our community is lucky to have people like you here. I also understand how much you wish you could return to your original home. I hope one day it will be possible for you ????????
Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing. Such a survivor. I am looking at War, conflict and displacement with my year 12 Visual Arts class. I will share your story with them.
Laura Brennan please read this lovely story
Bravo Sudhaba what a fabulous role model you are. I wish you all good things in life.
You are amazing. Thanks for sharing your story and for coming to Australia. Welcome!
“We don’t want to leave unless there is a good reason.”
That sentence says everything.
What an amazing person!
Good on you Sudhaba… You are one amazing human being. I wish only good things for you.
I’m glad you’re here ❤️
Read other inspirational stories in the just released New Humans of Australia Book 2 ????❤️ http://www.newhumansofaustralia.org/shop
I just wish more Australians would educate themselves before complaining about and abusing people who have suffered more than their narrow minds could begin to imagine.
Welcome… I’m so glad you’re here.
To overcome so much adversity and build a happy life…♥️????
Thank you for your story.
I’m so honoured to hear it. Brave, amazing you. I send you a warm embrace.
I’m proud of you my beautiful sis ❤️????????
Such an inspiring lady and your family, too. Thank you for your story, which gives us just a very very small window into your experiences, and how you have risen above the hardship and adversity. We are so fortunate to have you and your family in Australia.
That is a very sad and tragic story and you have led such a miserable, unhappy, and frightening life in your country, but you have turned your life around and I congratulate you for your hard work and study. I hope that in the near future you and your children can return to your homeland and it is pacefull again. In the meantime enjoy your life in Australia. ????????????
You are an inspiration
Thank you for sharing your story. I hope your life is totally fulfilled and your every wish comes true. Bravo.