Being a refugee in Darwin: Nisren’s story

Darwin mother Nisren Shamot balances study at two different institutions, looks forward to working in the childcare industry, and loves exploring local attractions with her family on weekends.

Nisren is also a refugee from Syria, who fled her country with her family and spent time in refugee camps before being settled in Australia.

“When I arrived here in Darwin, everything was different from my country but here everything is good,” Nisren said.

Refugee Week is being celebrated nationally 17th to 23rd of June, and is a time to raise awareness and recognition for the safety, dignity and rights of people who are forced to leave their homes.

“I came to Australia because my government died,” Nisren said.

“One day, it was a Saturday, we were cleaning the house and they started bombing my city.

“That day we decided to leave and applied to be a refugee.”

Upon arriving in Darwin, Nisren began studying English at STEPS Education & Training College in Casuarina.

The STEPS Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) offers free English language tuition to eligible students, to support refugees and migrants in adjusting to Australian life, find work and be active members of their community.

“People are very helpful, especially here at STEPS. When we ask them about anything the teachers help us,” Nisren said.

“When Cyclone Marcus came, they explained everything we needed to know, like to store water before the cyclone came.”

STEPS Casuarina business manager Michael Crawley said it was important for the community to work together to give refugees the best opportunity to thrive in their new homes.

“What we do at STEPS is just one piece of the puzzle,” he said.

“We’re proud to work with other organisations such as the Melaleuca Refugee Centre, Anglicare, MCNT (Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory), our local police and more, to help our students connect with the community and feel welcome and safe.”

STEPS AMEP teacher Anne Lutton said she has seen Nisren’s confidence grow during her time at STEPS.

“She really wants to get into the workforce as soon as possible,” Anne said.

“She’s an awesome student and highly motivated, so I’m sure she’ll be a success thanks to her own drive.”

#WithRefugees is the theme for Refugee Week 2018 in Australia.

The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs.

Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) logo.

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