“I was lucky to escape to Australia.” Ashok’s story.
After fleeing persecution in Sri Lanka, Ashok has overcome physical, emotional and language barriers to land a job as a cleaner in Melbourne.
Ashok grew up in Sri Lanka, and as a Tamil, faced discrimination and persecution in his home country. He lost the use of his right arm after being shot. He was also jailed for three years for his ethnicity.
“I was not safe in my home country,” Ashok said.
Fleeing Sri Lanka, the refugee was granted a temporary protection visa by the Australian Government.
Adapting to life in Australia
Like many other refugees, Ashok found the adjustment to life in Australia difficult.
“It was very hard for me, especially because I didn’t speak English,” Ashok said.
Determined to find work so he could support his parents, Ashok started English lessons and found a job as a waiter.
“I wanted to work so I could continue to support my parents financially,” Ashok said. “It’s been ten years since I’ve seen them.”
However, by the end of 2019, Ashok found himself out of a job.
Ashok’s unwavering motivation
Undeterred by the set-back and with help from MatchWorks Post Placement Support Consultant, Grace Cugliari and MatchWorks Business Development Consultant, Natasha Boshier, Ashok was able to:
- Arrange driving lessons.
- Liaise with his Occupational Therapist to provide medical information to VicRoads.
- Complete his application to extend his temporary protection visa.
Soon after, he secured part-time work as a labourer and a cleaner.
“I had never met anyone so motivated and enthusiastic,” Grace said.
“He wasn’t going to let the language barrier or his injury stop him. His employer is thrilled with his work ethic, performance and attitude, and Ashok is very keen to keep moving, to work and to earn an honest living.”
“Grace helped me so much,” Ashok said.
“I really like the work that I’m doing now. I’m very happy to be working, I have friends here now and I hope to stay in Australia and stay safe.”
It’s Refugee Week Sunday 20 June – Saturday 26 June 2021. This year’s theme “Unity – The way forward” highlights that we need to work together to build a more cohesive community, where all refugees can survive, thrive and progress in their lives.