Stories from young people

Stories of migration by young people contribute to our understanding of how we can change their lives for the better.

Hassan's story

Leaving Sudan

My name is Hassan. I come from South Sudan. Because of unrest, when I was 6 years old I had to leave my home with my 2 brothers. At the time I didn’t really understand why we had to leave, I just saw people moving and knew we just had to move. I was very sad to leave my family and friends behind. We tried to all stay together but my family decided that it was best for us to make a new start in a safer place.

We travelled to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. My brothers and I stayed with our uncles. I met a lot of people in Khartoum and attended school. But life there was very tough and we were living in very poor conditions.

My sister in Australia used to call us and we would explain the poor conditions we were living in. We asked her if there was a way she could help us to go to Australia to live with her. She soon applied for me and my brothers to come to Australia. We were told this process would take more than a year.

One of my other sisters left Sudan and went to Egypt. She decided that me and my brothers should all go and live with her in Egypt. Although I didn’t know my sister well, we agreed to go.

Journey to Egypt

We caught a train to the boarder of Sudan. When we were allowed to pass the boarder, we boarded a boat to Cairo. I had never been on a boat before and it was very fun. My brothers and I were on the second floor close to the top of the boat. For parts of the journey we would go upstairs and get some fresh air – it was perfect!

When we arrived it was so different from Sudan. I was excited and happy when I arrived. I was also looking forward to going to school and seeing what would happen in my new life, but it turned out to be a very difficult time. Egypt was still poor like Sudan and our conditions were not good.

We still wanted to go to Australia but after a year we found out that our application had been rejected. We were very upset but my sister kept trying and after a few months we were told that our application had been accepted and that my brothers and I were going to Australia!

Journey to Australia

It is difficult to describe the journey but it was really fun. We were so excited to go on a plane and to see what Australia was like.

The plane was so comfortable and relaxing, so different from my journey to Egypt. There were so many things to do on the plane, we could listen to music and play games on the computer, watch movies and eat! But the journey took a very long time.

Back then I didn’t know English. On my journey to Australia I heard many people speaking English but I could only understand a few basic sentences. I made friends with some of the other young kids on the plane and we could only communicate to one another through sign language. It was amazing.

Arriving in Australia

I was 12 years old when I arrived in Australia. I can still remember arriving clearly.

We arrived in Melbourne airport at night. People were saying hello and welcoming us. I was really excited even just being at the airport because it was nice. I wanted to stay there for a bit!

My sister, family members from our tribe and members of the Sudanese community came and met me and my brothers from the airport. I remember it being really cold. It was so different to Egypt and Sudan. I was excited to be in Australia and I was very happy.

Life in Australia

My brothers and I lived with my sister and her children. At first, I didn’t speak English but this didn’t matter much because my nieces and other family members could speak English well and would translate for me.

Australia is very different from Sudan, especially with the things in the house. I had to be very careful cooking at first and needed to learn how to use the appliances. I was scared of gas and fire. I also found the transport to be difficult; it was much more complicated than Sudan.

The Refugee minor program

After I had been in Australia for about 2 weeks, my case manager from the Refugee minor program came to meet me and explained some things about Australia such as the laws and customs. It was kind of like an introduction.

I really liked meeting her because she was very understanding. I could ask her what ever I wanted, it was really easy to ask her questions and she always gave me a clear answer.

My case worker was a big help to me and my family. It is very hard for my sister to do everything for me because she has 2 of her own children to look after as well as myself and my brothers. The case worker from the Refugee minor program helped me by coming with me to my medical appointments and other things that I needed to do. The case worker was also a big help as she supported my education and time spent at school. She also helped with many other issues and concerns that affected my family.

My future in Australia

I have now been living in Australia for almost 5 years. I feel quite settled here now. Although I miss Egypt and Sudan now and then, I am happy to be in Australia.

I am working hard to complete my education so I can have a good career. There are 3 things I would like to do: become a doctor, become a policeman and help communities or perhaps become a case manager.

My family is now trying to bring my mother to Australia. In the future I would like to have all my family together again. This would make me very happy.