Imagine spending the first 13 years of your life in an impoverished refugee camp! “I was born and grew up in the Thailand Karenni Refugee Camp 2 (Mae Surin). I was there 13 years. The camp is located in a jungle, so you can’t find the camp on Google Maps. Our house was made out of bamboo, wood and leaves.” We speak to Mutheinchri Ra (nicknamed Mu) who is a 20 year old Karenni refugee who came to Geelong in 2010.
“Looking back now, life in a #Refugee Camp was very tough. We didn’t have the same opportunities as the rest of the world has; there was limited access to food, healthcare and education. I remember not having enough food to eat… but I have many fun memories. I remember my friends and I swimming in the river together, playing with skipping ropes, going to church, cooking and looking for vegetables beside streams.”
Mu completed VCE at North Geelong Secondary College and is now studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Deakin University. “Coming to a new country with no English, and now learning English, I feel is a great achievement… my definition of success is waking up every morning and becoming a better person than the person I was yesterday.”
“I arrived here in Geelong in 2010. I love #Geelong. It is a place where I feel like I’m home. The people that I meet are genuinely nice and they all want to see you succeed. I have my Karenni community in Geelong as well, which gives us the opportunity to express and celebrate who we are and our culture.”
Mu has been a mentoree with Business Professional Women BPW Geelong for two years. In 2017, Mu received the BPW Geelong Sharon Hill Mentoring Award in the ‘Making a Difference’ mentoring program. Rotary Corio Bay saw the great potential in Mu and chose to send her to Kangaroobie Camp for a leadership training course.
Mu is also a casual employee at The fOrT. Youth Centre located in 3214 where she attends Drop-In sessions to interact and engage with local youth from #Corio and #Norlane. Mu is also a member of the Multicultural Youth Leadership Committee. “The youth committee’s aim is to build up the interaction between different nationalities, allowing people in the community with different backgrounds to come together, to learn and get to know each other.”
“The upcoming Geelong Film Festival held during Refugee Week at Village Cinemas Monday 18th June, 6:00pm – 7:30pm will be about different refugees living in Geelong; why they left their home country and came to Australia; the struggles that they faced, and their side of the story that people may not know.”
The Refugee Film Festival is a FREE event. PLEASE SHARE. Tickets can be ordered through Eventbrite at the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/refugee-week-film-festival-…
Story and Photo: Brandon Dellow winner of the #geelongyouth Award for Community Citizenship. #withrefugees