Making the most of chance to achieve

Arif Hazara is poised to raise a voice for refugees in Geneva.


NOBLE Park’s Arif Hazara is proof of what can be achieved if given a chance.
In June, the 21-year-old will fly to Geneva to take part in talks on refugee issues between United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and NGOs.
As Australia’s delegate, the former asylum seeker has plenty to say about the plight of the world’s 60 million displaced, including 20 million refugees.
Less than one per cent are resettled by the UNHCR, he said.
He is particularly concerned for those languishing without recognition in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Middle East.
It is an “inhuman and cruel” situation perpetuated by the international community, Mr Hazara argues.
More resources are needed not just for refugees, but to address the causes in their countries of origin such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The former Hallam Senior College student has come a long way since arriving by boat in Australia as a 16-year-old unaccompanied minor in 2011.
Like many asylum seekers, he arrived with nothing.
Unlike many, he has been given support by the Melbourne organisation Doxa to study at university – asylum seekers are excluded from HECS support and often can’t afford to study beyond high school.
“There are hundreds who are about to finish high school who are very nervous.
“Finding work for them is very hard, plus all the stress of waiting for their (refugee) claims to be processed.
“I believe I’m one of the fortunate ones. It shows what a refugee can do if provided an opportunity.”
Mr Hazara was given financial support, professional development and a work placement as part of a Doxa cadetship.
Doxa acting chief executive Andrew Cameron said the group helped a variety of young people, including many new arrivals and refugees, integrate into the community.
“Arif is not only an inspirational individual and a fantastic ambassador for our Doxa cadetship program but he is also a testament to how important young people are in our community.”
Making the most of his chance, Mr Hazara works as a full-time assistant accountant at Dennis Family Homes, while studying and mentoring at RMIT.
He has also been part of the Greater Dandenong Think Tank in 2013 and spoken at conferences across Australia on refugee issues.