A refugee journey out of endless war

A journey

A journey

The anonymous words below come from the reflections of a young person who arrived in Australia as a refugee.  She was when she wrote in Australian immigration detention.  Her words were submitted to the national inquiry currently being undertaken by Australian Human Rights Commission into children in immigration detention.  Links to national inquiry and her full submissions are provided below.  Her story tells a refugee journey out of endless war.

I am a young Somali girl who face hardest moment in life.  I am 18 years old. I was born in Somalia where horror was basic need in our everyday life.  I am a simple person who hides a thousands feelings behind the happiness …

We were born in endless war and grown up with unfair life. There are no rights for young or old and still we cope with it. While some of us suffer without parents, others have parents but the parents have nothing to give them – like food – and make the decision to give them to others and these children are grown up with fear. No one treats them like a child. Others, they already die because of lack of care and food. Still others will look forward to revenge the death of their families and parents when they become age of eleven or fifteen – carrying a gun. This is what we
have seen in our past happening to my country …

I came from the horn of Africa all the way to Australia. I hadn’t heard about Australia before.  What I was looking for was peace, safety and a better life. It was not easy and was a long journey. I decided I needed to leave Somalia and come to Kenya.  I was in transit for some hours, then the plane took off to Malaysia where I stayed five days with a smuggler. I paid him huge amount of money and was nothing left for me to use personally. I did all of that to save my life and to help the weakest people who I left back home to have a better future. My days in Malaysia was hard and I worried so much because I was alone and no one was looking after me expect Allah. Then I came by boat to Indonesia where I faced unforgettable moments …

My worst night mare is whenever I think how awful it was travelling by boat. I thank God to make me safe in peaceful place. I thought after I survived: I will reach all my goals, all the troubles seem like air to me and I will rise. Although all the past is rooted in pain, I rise and I am ready for the beautiful world …

One of my best friends used to tell me life is universal, deep like an ocean, hard like a mountain, kind like a mother. Everyday brings new things in life. So many people face so many difficult things but this gives us experience and we learn what life is. The best life is to live with your family and two parents because the will never see your bad ways. The worst life is when you see how beautiful world is and you can reach toward it but face so many hardships. But it will one day end. I am in detention now and for sure it is hard to be locked up somewhere but it gives me more experience and I learn many culture’s religions and more. …

The miracle things, which I always wonder at, is that in 12 hours one person can have different moods. You can be happy or sad anytime but as we are human we face happy or sad. The secret of life is each day, each hour is part of a good fight. Stupid mistakes and impatient people will never reach their goals. When you are near your dream and you fought so hard to get them, you become an unforgettable person. You help the needy and you understand the world always needs patience. One day, one hour, one minute, will not come again in your entire life. Forgive others and speak lovely to everyone …

Understanding is much deeper than knowledge. There are so many people who know but very few who understand you. They give me hope and treat me good and make me to forget I am in detention. I can’t forget their good service and what kind of people they were. People with good hearts, who understand what human-being like them needs.

We always hurry up and wait – so close but so far away. Everything that we always dreamed of is close enough for us to taste but you just can’t touch it.


How dangerous was it to leave my country alone?
How my family allowed me to leave?
How afraid I was for my self- that I would be raped or killed?
How I made the decision to travel alone?
How I survived without food some days?
How I walked bare feet – even as I got more injured?
How I allowed them to lock me inside a toilet?
How I stayed inside the toilet for hours?
How I jumped from far places and got damaged?
How I knew I had come to the right place?
I will live and survive and be asked:
How I felt to come by boat?
How I felt to risk my life?
Did I know I would stay in detention?
Did I know I had come ‘illegally’?
But I will smile –
and I will listen to them –
because when I survived the sea
I thought I was born again.
When they ask:
did you know the law was changed?

I will tell them:
I didn’t have a choice
When they say:
Doesn’t it hurt you to remember?
I will answer them:
it is past.
When they ask:
What are u planning now?
What do you want to be in the future?
I will answer them:
I am planning to live in Australia
and I want to be a journalist.
They will ask:
what about if they send you somewhere else?
And I will say:

National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention

Submission 21B

Submission 21A





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