When Amina had to flee her home in Aleppo, Syria, she was devastated to depart with her much-loved English language centre, which she had run for many years. After arriving in Melbourne as a refugee, she gained qualifications to teach in Australia and has been giving back ever since.
“Teaching means everything to me, it is my life and I love it. When I’m in the classroom, I forget everything else.
When I arrived in Melbourne, I was happy to be reunited with my sons, but leaving my life behind and starting anew at my age was daunting.
I desperately wanted to get back to teaching and use my skills here in Australia.
I enrolled in university and I got my Graduate Diploma in Education. It was the best thing I could have done.
Volunteering as an English teacher to other refugees has given me the chance to help others and contribute to Australian society. When my students see how much I love my job, they feel inspired to study.
My advice to them is always the same: first, learn English. Second, study or look for a job. Finally, I tell them to become an active member of the community.
Giving refugees like I once was access to education is an essential part of helping them to fully participate in Australian society. I meet so many skilled professionals in my class who have a lot to offer, eager to contribute. Today I dream of starting a business in Melbourne, perhaps a language centre just like the one I had in Aleppo.”
Amina came to Australia under the humanitarian programme. Many refugees and new migrants like Amina bring with them professional training, skills and experience, and want to give back.