Bibi Shamsia Moosawi
Student at Macquarie University
My first day with the LEAP Macquarie Mentoring (Refugee Mentoring) program I will never forget. I had a relaxed and fun day, and for one day it was just us and our new friends, our mentors from Macquarie. Meeting them gave me a new community, I actually belonged with them, it was so exciting. The mentors were really nice and helpful. Some of us were really scared, shy and embarrassed, however they led us to a place where we were happy and excited and ready to think about our future beyond high school.
I was completely confused when I was doing my HSC. The program and my mentors helped me to go out and see different opportunities. It is like different flavoured food, you don't know what it tastes like unless you try it.
I received a lot of motivation from the mentors, who told me if it doesn't work out to go to university straight after your HSC there are other pathways. You can do TAFE courses and then you can still go to uni if you want to. My mentors told me not to stress myself out, but also never to give up on my dreams. I dream of being a professional psychologist with my own office with my name on the door, with my own set of computers, telephone and receptionist.
I come from a country where there is a lack of education for women. I believe that through education you discover yourself as a person. Without education how would you know how to love yourself or to believe in yourself? At Macquarie University I found myself, I found a new me. That's why education is so important, especially for refugees.
I want to tell people out there: Wherever you are, no matter what you do - fly like a bird, dream big and never give up. Always be that independent, strong person you want to be. Always hope for a new day and no matter what happens be proud of yourself – always!
Rachel Hennessy - Coordinates Refugee Support at Arthur Phillip High School
I coordinate the refugee support programs in the school and I have known Bibi for quite a few years as a student here and through our support programs.
I think the mentoring program helped Bibi make more strategic decisions about her future. To be honest I really wouldn't have thought university was on her radar a couple of years ago, and when I heard that she is going to uni I was surprised. It is truly great: words can't express how happy I am that this has happened for her.
Going to university is huge for Bibi and her family. I saw her father at the university the other day when she was giving a speech, he looked so proud.
I don't know that we would have been able to do this for her, even at such a big and supportive school like Arthur Phillip High School without the support of this program.
In general the program makes our kids feel more confident, motivated and enthusiastic about coming to school; they are happier and excited. Many of them really start to become serious about their work.
The university experience and meeting university students gives them a tangible idea of what university could be, until then it really is just another school.
Following the university experience day our students jump out of the bus with their little bags of things they got from the university and they are so renewed. It really gets them back on track.