Survivor: Hayatullah

"My name is Hayatullah and I'm from Afghanistan. After several wars, and especially when the Taliban attacked, life was really hard for us. One day, they burned our school and then my father decided to escape war and persecution and move to Pakistan."

"We left families and friends and the land and everything behind and we started a new journey. We started a new life there and learned the environment and the language. However, because the Taliban was defeated from Afghanistan, they came back to Pakistan and then they started to persecute the minority, the Hazara. The persecution started for the Hazara there as well, with the bomb blasting and the killing of people. I was a refugee for eight years in Pakistan and I was sponsored by my wife to Australia. I was on a temporary protection visa for two years. I started to work in a factory for those two years because I didn't have any access to education.

After civil wars, people become homeless. They become uncertain about their future. They leave their homeland and seek asylum to another country. Some of us learn from the mistakes and we see the positive side of it, but some actually hate it because they lose their relatives, friends and homes. They lose their employment and education."

"For me, peace means being certain about my future, about my life. It means enjoying my life together with family, with friends, with a room to call home. It means accepting each other, tolerating each other, becoming educated. It means working and learning from each other.

Refugees have the courage to start a new journey, to start a new life. They have left everything behind: their home, their friends, their relatives, their families. It’s not easy for everyone to learn the environment, to overcome financial and emotional barriers. However, they have that courage. They contribute a lot to the new country. Myself, I worked for two years in a factory, six days a week, more than ten hours every day. I woke up early in the morning and came back at night. That's not actually possible for everyone, but because I had a lot of barriers financially, I had to work hard. And since I got my permanent residency in 2010, I got my education. I'm working as a social worker and I'm also doing my honours full-time at uni.

Peace means being certain about the future. It means enjoying my life with family and friends. It means accepting each other, becoming educated. It means learning from each other."

"Refugees have the courage to contribute and start a new life. They have hope. They want to make sure they contribute, and that they’re not a burden to the Australian economy.

To rebuild a nation after civil war, it's hard but reconciliation is a good thing. Build the relationship of trust with each other and try to support each other. Give the emotional, psychological and financial support to the victims of civil war to heal and remedy the situation. Obviously it's important to assess the needs of the minority and have some plans and programs that are implementable and achievable. And obviously to make sure that those projects and programs are implemented fairly so that everyone has access to that and to make sure everyone is happy."

"Twice, the Refugee Council of Australia has appointed me Refugee Week Ambassador. That was because of my own experience being a refugee in Pakistan for eight years, of being on a temporary protection visa here in Australia for two years, which actually limited my rights. That experience really encouraged me to speak up on behalf of those people who experience and go through the same circumstances I've gone through.

Those things really gave me a voice. They gave me support to speak clearly and to make sure that the people who are voiceless, their voice is heard."

Peace after war

Our research heals the scars of war by building peace.

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