Hana* is one of our previous graduates from the Retail Training Program. At The Social Outfit, she found a sense of community and confidence which allowed her to go on and find further employment. Wear The Change fundraises for programs just like this, so if you would love to support young refugees like Hana*, click here to find out how you can get involved!
Four years ago I realised that I can't live in my country anymore. It wasn't safe for me. All I wanted was just to get protection and to have my own rights and feel safe.
In the country where I came from, women don't have most of the basic rights that people take for granted here, from studying to working... even going to the supermarket is something you need male approval for. And this is enforced by law, it's not just a cultural thing. It’s really challenging to live in a place where, if you try to express yourself, you will be threatened.
My experience as a refugee was not the best, but I wouldn't say it was the worst. I had friends who were stuck on some islands. I had friends who were locked in detention. For many of us, it took a long time to get here and was very hard and I hate it when sometimes people think that we just came here to have fun or have jobs.
I mean, it is part of it, but we came here because we had to.
I still remember the first time I landed in Australia. I was really worried at the airport. I was really anxious. I didn't know what's going to happen, but then one of the people who worked there, they looked at my visa and they said ‘Welcome Home’. It just made me feel really safe and welcomed.
And the first thing I saw was just this big, beautiful sky, limitless sky. I just loved the land since I stepped on it. And, I just felt like this place is gonna be my home.
Settling as a migrant in Australia is challenging, of course, but settling as a refugee is much more challenging because I didn't have that much knowledge about, for example, renting a place, knowing my rights. All these things were new to me and sometimes as a refugee, people can try to take advantage of your situation.
I remember at times I was thinking I would never be able to find work. I was really desperate. People didn't even give me a chance. I wouldn't even get to the interview. I tried to volunteer and change my resume so many times. But I guess there is this thing that you need some Australian experience - you need just to get your foot in the door.
When I first came here, I said, “Wow everything is so beautiful here, I’m going to work in this place.” I really love it. Feeling welcomed and feeling like you have another family like a chosen family is just amazing. And the best thing for me is now I realize, I am no longer a victim I am in a country where I have my rights, I have friends and a community.
Since I started working at The Social Outfit, I've noticed lots of change. I became more confident and more aware of how to be a better salesperson. When talking to customers I try to give them the best experience I can. I make sure that everyone comes to the shop in feels welcome and this is a really good skill that I can carry on with my career.
I am looking forward to expand my career in this field working in ethical fashion and the ethical environment.