YOUR december peace mail from australia
My name is Yousef and I am new to Australia after my family and I were accepted as refugees from Iraq.
Where I am from in Iraq is a beautiful town and we had a good life. We had jobs and our lives were peaceful. But then ISIS came in and occupied our town. We were forced to leave our home and our friends and family behind.
Danny Yapp - Act for Peace
I remember the day the war came to our home clearly: it was noon on the 6th of August 2014 when the shelling started. That day, our neighbours, two young men were killed. I knew I had to leave to protect my family. We gathered what we could and we just ran away.
Everywhere we went to was under fire. ISIS was in there, town after town, so we went north to Kurdistan and then Turkey. From Turkey we went to Lebanon and then back to Turkey. Then we were directed back to Lebanon and then, thankfully, we came to Australia.
Coming to Australia was not expected. I never would have imagined it.
When we first arrived the language being all English was hard for us but we found friends and family and the Assyrian Resource Centre helped us. I can say now that we have settled in.
The centre helped us get our children in school and helped us learn some English so we could get on with our lives here.
We’ve got friends here for 10 years, some five years, and we also have relatives like sister in law, so we’ve got used to community life within the area.
* Yousef's name has been changed to protect his identity as a refugee
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During the 1970s and from the late 1990s onwards, there has been an increasing level of Christian Assyrian migration to Australia under the family reunion, refugee and humanitarian programs.
With your support, the Assyrian Resource Centre helps refugees who are new to Australia to settle here and start to rebuild their lives, after suffering terribly through war and displacement.
The Assyrian Resource Centre first opened in 1984. Today, it assists refugees with finding employment, health, education and family law. The centre provides English classes and practical training in computers. It also acts as the voice for the Assyrian community in Sydney.
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