“I was born in a Thailand refugee camp, known as Mae Surin, but around the age of 3, my family and I moved to Karenni Refugee Camp 1. We lived there until we came to Australia. I lived there with my brother and both parents. I went to a school with my brother. We would finish and come home at lunchtime whereas my parents would come home late because of work. After school, we either studied or we’d go and play with friends. Over the weekend, I’d spend my time with family. On Sunday I went to church and Sunday school. I was provided with everything that I could possibly get, but sometimes things could get tough, especially when I had to spend late nights alone with my brother due to both mum and dad working.”
Moo K’Phru Say is a 20-year-old Karenni refugee. “I came to Australia in 2009. I was 9 years old, there was only four of us at the time we came to Australia, but mum had another baby here. I was very excited when I arrived in Australia! Everything was different: the housing, the streets, shops and many other stuff. I even got to see my relatives who I haven’t seen in a long time.”
“When I attended school, I didn’t like it because the majority of the time I had no idea what was going on in class or what I was supposed to be doing. It was pretty hard to cope with the learning especially when the language was a huge barrier. But North Geelong Secondary College provided extra support for new arrivals and gave us extra time to learn and focus on English instead of doing other things like other student in mainstream classes.”
Moo K’Phru graduated from North Geelong Secondary College in 2017, and is currently studying a Bachelor of Criminology at Deakin University, while working as a part-time interpreter. Moo has ambitions to graduate university and join the police force, where she will “be able to make my parents proud”.
We asked Moo what she was thankful for? She replied “I want to thank God for providing everything I need in life and guiding me through the good and bad. Secondly my parents (my role models) for prioritising my brother’s and my life before theirs. Lastly, I want to thank Australians for giving refugees the opportunity to come and reside in this country and moreover help us to start a life in Australia so that we may be able to continue to live a normal life as well.”
“Geelong is the best place to live! Everyone who constantly aims to improve Geelong is doing a great job! I’m glad that I came to Geelong, and appreciate everything the Geelong community has offered. Geelong was the place that helped my family achieve a new start in life in Australia. Geelong is the place where I want to live.”
Story and photo: Brandon Dellow