SBS Kurdish

Refugee Week ambassador shares struggle to find sanctuary down under

SBS Kurdish

Sorgul Maho

Former Kurdish refugee Sorgul Maho has been able to continue her university studies in Australia.

Published 24 June 2022 at 11:14am
By Mayada Kordy Khalil
Source: SBS

Within four years of her arrival in Toowoomba, former refugee Sorgul Maho has become an ambassador to the Refugee Council of Australia as well as almost completing a university degree.

Published 24 June 2022 at 11:14am
By Mayada Kordy Khalil
Source: SBS

Sorgul Maho was born in northern Syria in a small town called Afrin and was the first woman in her family to enrol at university where she went on to study English language and literature studies at Aleppo University.

However, for a young girl with big hopes and dreams, she said her desire to complete her education came to a standstill when she had to leave university in 2012 after the situation in Aleppo worsened. 

Her passion and desire to help others shone through when she worked as an English teacher for internally displaced students in her hometown until 2014.

Syrian-Kurd interpreter bridging the gap for new migrants in regional Queensland

She lived in Turkey for four years following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

“After spending four years in Turkey, I am still grateful to the support I received with my settlement in Australia," Ms Maho said.  

In 2018, and much to her shock and happiness, she said she had had an opportunity “to dream again” after her family relocated to Australia as refugees. 

Australia is a welcoming country, with so many refugees enjoying their freedom (and) having a safe home.
Fast-forward to 2022 and she is now one of a handful of ambassadors for the Refugee Council of Australia, sharing her journey as part of Refugee Week (June 19-25).

Ms Maho said she hoped her story of resettlement would educate Australians on global refugee conditions and ways to support the refugee community.

By being an ambassador to the Refugee Council of Australia, I am sharing my journey of being a former refugee (including) fears, struggles, disappointments but at the same time my dreams and a safe home in Australia.
She said since arriving in Australia, she had worked hard on achieving her dreams, helping the Kurdish-Yezidi community and other refugees and asylum-seeking communities, while also giving back to the country that “gave me back my freedom, dignity and identity”.

Ms Maho is currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in International Relations and Social Justice Studies at the University of Southern Queensland.

“I am very passionate about human rights and social justice; I know I can make a difference in other peoples’ lives," she said.

Breaking down barriers: Refugee runs Kurdish classes for Toowoomba residents