Finding a new life and work in Australia

Fidilia’s family came to Australia to escape the conflict of Iraq. In her words, hear how the mother of two found the courage to flee her abusive marriage and start a new life and job in Sydney. 

Fadilia is one of our many refugee clients and has been supported by the Fairfield team in NSW.

“The most important thing that I have learnt as a refugee is that we can all start from nothing – no friends, no family, no income, lost, confused and scared – but hard work, commitment and a great support system can change all that.” 

Fadilia’s life in Iraq

“I was born in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, in 1977. I completed Year 6…which was an achievement in my country, especially being a female. After I completed school, I had to get a job. I worked in a factory doing pick packing work to help support and bring home income. When I was older, I wished to continue studying but the need for me to get a job was much higher. I ended up working in a restaurant for a few years.

“As I was reaching the age of ‘becoming a woman’, there was discussion about me having to marry one of my relatives. In my country that was very normal, but I knew that was not what I wanted…”

“I ended up marrying my relative. I put a smile on my face and pretended to be happy for the first few years… I had two boys, and when that happened, my life completely shifted. I knew that I deserved better than the life I had, but did not know where to start.

“It was not easy to just leave your husband in the country that I lived in, not only due to the laws, but also the shame it would bring to my family. It was something I could not live with, so I decided to stay.”

Leaving Iraq

“We lived a pretty normal life in Iraq… I did not think that I would wake up, go outside to the beautiful streets of Iraq and see a line of soldiers. We were unable to leave home – no electricity, no power, no work. The only option I had was to leave my country all together with my family.  We were sent to Lebanon, Syria and finally came to Australia in the hope of starting a new life with no war.

“After our visa was granted in 2017…we felt so immediately blessed that we had this opportunity to come to the right place to raise my children in a safe environment. Australia is paradise – peaceful, lawful and generous.

“We were overwhelmed with the change of language and cultural ways but still felt as if… all the struggle and fight was worth it. One of the most important things for me was that the boys now had a chance for a proper education.”

Dark days not over

“After overcoming the change, I thought that the dark days were over, but after moving to Australia things became worse within my marriage. My husband turned abusive and it was something that was so normal in Iraq that I thought it was normal here in Australia too.

“After a few years of tolerating the abuse, I found the courage to leave my husband and file for divorce. I realised that all the shame it would bring me and my family was not more important than my life. I did not want my two boys to grow up thinking that domestic violence in the home was a part of marriage.”

Finding work in Australia

“I was later linked to a job provider and had my first initial appointment with Maryam. She explained everything to me in the Assyrian language.

“I enrolled to study a full time Adult Migrant English program to improve my communication skills and build my confidence for job searching and speaking with potential employers. I also received mentoring from the Refugee Liaison Officer, Fatuma.

“It was not an easy climb, but I am grateful I got through it. Now I am working with Cloverdale Group Facility Services and the help I received from my consultant was amazing… Maryam helped me in all aspects of my life and supported me throughout my job search experience, which was not easy.

“I wish someone, somewhere reads this and realises that ‘yes, it’s not easy and you will struggle, but all the struggle, tears and feeling of hopelessness will end, and you will have a better life.”

Thank you Fidilia for sharing your story.

Are you a refugee in need of work?

At MatchWorks, we support you to find work in Australia. We have staff who speak multiple languages and understand your culture. We also offer a refugee mentoring program and connections to community services. Together, we’ll get you working. Contact us to find out more.

Speak to a MatchWorks Employment Consultant with the help of an interpreter

To speak to a MatchWorks Employment Consultant with the help of an interpreter, call Speak your language interpreter services on 1300 000 795 and ask to be connected to MatchWorks Employment Services.

If you have a family member or friend who can assist with translation, please call 1300 13 23 63.