When I was 17, I was in a band and wanted to be a musician, but my father wanted me to be an engineer, so I went on to get a degree in Civil Engineering, and a Masters in Construction Management. As soon as I finished, I decided to leave Iraq. We Christians were never treated as true citizens, and I felt that any moment I could be called to go and fight in a war I didn’t believe in, so I decided to go to Jordan, where I worked as a project manager for 2 years, before migrating to Australia.
When I first arrived in Australia, I couldn’t find a job as an engineer, which frustrated me, but then I realised that it was a new life and a new country, so I had to step back a few steps. I made the decision to study Real Estate, and I quickly found work as a real estate agent in Fairfield, where I worked for 5 years. But then I started to ask myself – am I really a sales person? I was successful, but I had a soft heart. My boss would say to me, ‘Why are you always reducing your commission to help these people? You should go and work in Social Work!’ So I went to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Adult Education. Meanwhile, I found a job as a Case Manager working with newly arrived refugees, and after 4 months, I was promoted to Case Co-ordinator, where I was exposed to hundreds of cases. It was then that I realised the struggle of those people, who had all been through different types of persecution, and I got deeply emotionally involved in my work helping them to start a new life here. Psychologically, it was very rewarding, but when you keep listening to traumatic stories, it affects you too. In 2011, I finished my Masters in Social Science, after which I became as a Community Liaison Officer in local schools, where I’m now a Team Leader. Then, in 2014, I established the Arts and Community Development office in Fairfield, which is the first private organisation that looks after arts and community development in South Western Sydney.
I am also involved in The Choir of Love, which started as a Catholic, church based choir in 2004. One day, the church deacan asked if I could play keyboard for them – I didn’t know anything about choirs, but I found I loved it, and I put a lot of effort into improving the music, making the old hymns more modern. From this, the choir started getting invited to other churches, so we decided to become a Christian choir without belonging to any particular denomination, and I started to compose and conduct. In 2012, we started using music as a way of healing from post traumatic stress disorder for the Chaldean, Assyrian and Syriac refugees from Iraq. Our first project was called We Sing for Love and Peace, a CD of Christmas songs, after which we did many concerts. The next year, we did a theatrical performance, and currently, we are working on a CD with 7 original songs about peace and harmony, called Songs of Peace from Australia to Mesopotamia.
Over the years, many of my choir members have gone on to become leaders in other choirs, which makes me proud. It’s like a seed that bears fruit.
I went from being a musician to an engineer, to a business man, and now I’ve become a social worker who looks after the community through music. I feel so lucky to be here in this country – I have achieved all that I dreamed of.
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heck! so many achievements! Well done to you Bashar. Australia is a better place with you being here.
Love your work, Bashar. So grateful for your kind and loving heart. And your music will help soothe, uplift and heal souls. ????????
Wow Bashar! What an amazing life you have had so far. Australia is lucky to have you and your amazing talents and wonderful positive energy. Bless you 🙂 🙂
What an inspiring man. Well done Bashar, we are fortunate you bought your talents to Australia.
Love that you have come full circle….your passion for your job in helping others is what opened the door again to what you truly loved…music. Thank you for sharing your story and for giving of yourself…..Peace be with you always.
The thing most people don’t appreciate about engineers is that they are first and foremost problem-solvers. Your drive to fix, and to be innovative in the process was honed in engineering. And while most of us have music in our lives, surrounding is on our TVs, radios, phones, in our workplaces and shops, most people have become so accustomed to it that they don’t appreciate the contribution it makes. We value the contribution you’ve made. All strength to you in your community work.
Amazing story Bashar, congratulations on your persistence to follow your passions. Best wishes with your new endeavours, we miss you at Fairvale but we know you must move on. Keep up the great work!!
Xxx Nhan Bawa
Well done on your success, and your happy change of direction from engineering to music. I would love to be involved in such work.
Many thanks to all of you kind people…. It is really overwhelming (emotional) to read your kind comments…
Thank you indeed…..
Bashar Hanna I’d really like to have a look at your Arts and Community Development Work organisation in Fairfield. Could you direct me to a web link or something like that?
I just loved reading your story Bashar and think that Australia is fortunate to have you choose to live here. Congratulations on your endeavours, and I hope life continues to reward you and your community.
God bless you Bashar, as you continue to serve and bless so many with the incredible life you lead.
We as a society and country are all the better for you in it and apart of it ! Thank you got sharing your story
Wow now that is a life well lived. So happy you are here sharing your compassion and talents. I’d like to see you as Australian of the Year.
What a beautiful story. You are certainly leaving your mark on this world in the best way possible.Those who help others, really do help themselves.
Thank you Bashar for telling us your story. I feel very glad that we have you in Australia … welcome, may life continue to be fulfilling for you and for all those you strive to help.
What a great story; I am really moved by all that he has accomplished for the community. Bless you Bashar …
Dear Bashar , thanks for sharing us your successful & beautiful story , I admire your character & your way in approaching people around you, wish you more & more success
Hi bashar. It was good to know the whole story of your coming to Australia. It was a pleasure to work with you. You are always happy, caring and compassionate to those around you. Congratulations on making it to new humans of Australia!
Thank you for sharing an insight to your life, being true to yourself while making a positive difference to others lives.
What an amazing life you’ve lived Bashar. I’m so pleased that your passion for music has found its way back to you and you get to do what you love.
What a journey life has taken you on! I especially love how you have used music as a powerful tool for healing….
What an amazing human! So honoured for you to choose Australia as your home as we all get to share the fruits of your labour. You are our blessing xx????????
Wow, how inspiring, you have done so much good in your life for so many people. Thanks for telling your story and for all you have done 😀
Other people have shared their thoughts and I hope Bashir, you are warmed by them. There are good people in Australia, like you, who just want to live a fulfilled life in a free land. Enjoy your life you have worked hard and earned.