One of Baptcare’s Sanctuary residents, Abdul, 20, recounts the hardships he has overcome whilst seeking asylum in Australia, culminating in a job offer with a leading employer.
Abdul fled Somalia when he was 17 years old only to be placed in detention for 14 months shortly after arriving in Australia. Since leaving detention, Abdul struggled with the challenges of supporting himself while being alone in a new country.
“When you’ve got no family, no friends and in a new country, life is very hard,” Abdul said.
Abdul fell into homelessness six weeks after being on his own and was placed in temporary homeless assistance housing for about seven months. However, he didn’t let this get in the way of making a better life for himself in Australia.
“This didn’t stop me from reaching my goal of a better life, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and the possibilities for me are endless,” Abdul said.
Abdul never gave up trying to create a better place for himself and was diligent about entering the workforce. While trying to find permanent accommodation, he also studied at TAFE and volunteered as a receptionist at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
“After struggling to find housing I eventually got an offer from Baptcare to enter the Sanctuary program. They not only supported me in regard to housing but also supported my employment,” Abdul said.
Baptcare helped Abdul gain work experience in his field by offering him voluntary work placement at the Moonee Ponds office where he undertook data entry, filing and other administrative duties with the Family and Community Services team. Abdul was a keen worker and always attended placement days. Even when his car was stolen, it didn’t stop him from navigating his way to work on public transport.
Abdul charmed the Moonee Ponds office with his skills and cheery personality. Disability Services Program Manager, Dawn Hill-Allan said he was “a pleasure to have around the office. He was such a gentleman; nothing was too hard for him to take on as a task”.
The work experience Abdul undertook through Baptcare plus his other work allowed him to shine in a corporate environment. This hard work paid off when the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre recently referred him to a job at ANZ Bank’s inbound call centre.
“After an interview with ANZ, they offered me a job. That was one of my biggest dreams in life. I believe this job could change my life in many ways.”
Abdul attributes part of his success to the support that was provided to him by Baptcare. “I believe Baptcare plays a very important role in the community and also to people seeking asylum by supporting them with housing and employment,” he said.
Abdul has come a long way since he first arrived in Australia and Baptcare has been a big part of his journey to find a meaningful role within the community.
“Baptcare provides special support to people seeking asylum who are having financial hardship and that is something to be very proud of.”
“This is the start of my journey. The sky is the limit.”