This is Daniel’s story of fleeing Burma, life in a refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border and starting a new life in Australia, working for Twilight Aged Care. We have several Karen staff members, all working hard to create a positive new life for themselves and their families. This is just one story …
In February 1997, my family and I fled the civil war in Burma between the Burmese military Government and the Karen Liberation Movement. Since we were supporters of the Karen, we had no choice but to leave our homeland and seek asylum in a Thai refugee camp. At that time my family consisted of six members, parents, my two younger brothers, my younger sister and myself. I am the oldest son and was about 11 years old when we fled the fighting. We then found ourselves living in one of the most restricted camps along the Thai/ Burma border where we lived for eleven years in horrible conditions.
Although we had very limited resources I was able to continue my education with assistance from NGOs. Living conditions in the camp were severely crowded, squalid and filthy. Consequently diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid, measles, chicken pox, meningitis etc. were rife.
Tragically, my father succumbed to an unknown disease and passed away in 2006. Two years later, in 2008, we were eventually processed for third country resettlement and were admitted to Australia.
I began an Intensive English Course at Bankstown Senior College and finished my year 12 in 2010. I then continued with further studies at Liverpool TAFE and finished my diploma in Human Resources Service.
I joined Twilight Aged Care in May 2012 – my first job as a permanent employee. This has been a good experience for me as I am able to meet people from different countries, all of us with a common goal of doing a good job for the Twilight Aged Care residents.
Coming to Australia, especially with a refugee background is very hard, particularly in terms of work, as you are required to provide evidence of local work experiences. Having no previous job experiences or references makes it difficult to create a good impression with possible employers. I appreciate Twilight Aged Care for the opportunity they have given me and for showing confidence in me.
I have decided to go back to school to continue my studies as I believe that in Australia, the higher your qualifications the greater the opportunities for advancement. I am also involved in volunteering work, assisting in the community, coaching a community youth soccer team. I am very thankful to the Australian government for resettlement in Australia so that we can have freedom and a better quality of life.