Building a new life in Australia

Mirna lived a happy life in Iraq – then the Iraqi war changed everything. Read Mirna’s story in her own words about fleeing her home country, becoming a refugee in Australia, then finding hope, happiness and a new career.

“It was a hard moment the day I woke to find our beautiful street full of soldiers. We had a good life in Iraq before war took everything. I had a job as a qualified accountant and we lived a normal life surrounded by family and friends.

“We fled to Lebanon, but life was tough there too… on the day our Australian visa was granted, I felt as if I had been reborn.

“We arrived in Sydney in 2018 and immediately felt that we had come to the right place. Australia is paradise – peaceful, lawful and generous. However I also felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t speak English and the culture was so different. I also found it difficult to find similar work.

“The moment we met Maryam Oshana from MatchWorks, life in Australia got easier. Every day she was teaching me something new about the Australian way of life – how to get a career and how to recognise my degree. She advised me to enrol in TAFE to improve my language and I joined a career seekers program.

“Now I am working with a huge company in North Sydney, studying at Parramatta College and am enrolled in further education at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

“I don’t have the words to explain how grateful we are for that support… my family is safe and my brothers can get a good education. My goal is to make Australia proud of me. 

“My advice to refugees is to fully immerse yourself in your new community. Put your head down and work hard… this is a country where anyone can realise their dreams. Nothing is impossible for us. We are human as other humans and the key is having a hunger and passion to make the best of your life.”   

It’s Harmony Week, a time to celebrate Australia’s cultural diversity and respect everyone who calls Australia home. Let’s work together to create an inclusive community where everyone belongs.

Find out more about how we support refugees and migrants into work