Refugee Week Celebrations 2016 Amel Riyadh Abdukareen Baliha

Amel was born in Iraq and moved to Lebanon with her family when she was only 10 years old. Amel’s mother is Muslim and her father is Christian, which created problems for them in

Iraq and was the reason the family had to flee.

In Lebanon the problems didn’t vanish and life didn’t get any better. There was no work for Amel’s parents and she wasn’t allowed to go to school.

“No work, no anything,” says Amel.

At 17 years of age, Amel and her sister began work in the circus as dancers to help support the family. Amel held this occupation until she was 20 years old.

Amel and her family waited six years before being allowed to migrate to Australia. The family was ecstatic when they received word that their application had been approved.

Amel and her family arrived at Sydney Airport and moved to Canberra where they lived for 10 months. Amel relocated to Wollongong where she currently lives.

As a TAFE NSW Illawarra student of the Adult Migrant English Program*, Amel is learning English Language.

Amel wants to pursue a career in nursing. She loves Australia, the people, the environment; she also loves shopping and hanging out with her friends.

“I enjoy everything about living in Australia, the people are nice. I love to see my friends, and love shopping,” says Amel.


*The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.