It was a good eight years before I was born in Sydney when my parents migrated to Australia in the early 1980’s.
With two suitcases, a 12-month working visa and one night’s hotel accommodation booked, my mother and father took a leap of faith, swapping their familiar lives in Suva, Fiji for what would hopefully be a brighter future in Canberra.
Their initial months, in fact years, struggling to build a comfortable lifestyle in Australia, are actually fond memories of mum and dad’s in retrospect.
Ultimately, they believe it was all worth it, because what a bright future indeed they’ve not only built for themselves, but for their two daughters whose worlds are abundant in opportunities they themselves never had growing up.
I’m immensely grateful for the sacrifices my parents made all those years ago, and in awe of their courage to dive into unknown international waters, with the lightest of pockets yet the fullest of hopeful hearts.
When I attended Transferwise’s Faces of Australia exhibition in Sydney this week, I was reminded of how common my parents’ story is in Australia.
From a refugee child who has gone on to become a successful entrepreneur to an international student who was recently named the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year, 20 migrants and their inspiring success stories were featured in Transferwise’s latest initiative.
Here are a few to remind us of the power and value of immigration.
Faces of Australia – Diem Fuggersberger 🇻🇳 Diem and her family fled Vietnam when she was seven. They spent 18 months living in an Indonesian refugee camp and eventually arrived in Australia. Today, Diem is co-founder of Berger Ingredients and Coco & Lucas. Oh and the Fuggersbergers lost everything in the GFC (Global Financial Crisis). Diem is resilience personified. Read her story on our Facebook page or here: https://transferwise.com/au/blog/foa-diem 📷 @kjtilse
🇵🇰Faces of Australia 🇦🇺 Usman Iftikhar is co-founder and CEO of Catalysr and coined the term "migrapreneurs". Usman migrated from Pakistan in 2013 to complete a Masters in Engineering Management, but found it difficult to get meaningful employment in Australia. This led to Catalysr, which helps migrants and refugees turn their business ideas into a reality. Read more about Usman on our Facebook page or here: https://transferwise.com/au/blog/foa-usman 📷 @kjtilse @transferwise
My husband and I got married and seven days later we landed in Sydney. Neither of us knew a soul and it was such an adventure. He fell in love with Australia as soon as we arrived and wanted to stay here forever. But I was thinking to myself, ‘What have I done?’ In Mexico, I had already built a life. I was 27, and I’d just finished my degree in Communications, majoring in Women’s Issues, and I was working to support women’s rights in Mexico city. But now I felt like I was starting from the beginning, and it was a big shock. I also felt like I couldn’t find my tribe in Sydney. Three years later, my child was born. At first, my mum came from Mexico but then she left and boom! I didn’t have any family here, and all my friends were still single. It was a hard time. My child was born with a club foot. It’s really common – nothing major. But I remember at the time the pictures of babies on Nauru started coming in, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m a migrant, and I have all these facilities and everything was covered by Medicare, and we were taken care of with such kindness.’ And these people in Nauru were exactly the same colour as I am and they were mothers too, who were trying to come here to give their children a better life, but they were living in these mouldy tents. I realised I had to do something. That’s when I became part of Mums 4 Refugees, and it changed my life completely. It really opened my eyes. And it made me realise that no matter where you are or where you’re from or what’s happening in your life, motherhood has this way of simplifying things. Dulce Mexico Arrived 2008 Full story on Facebook @newhumansofaustralia and Patreon (link in bio) Photographer: Kurt Tilse @kjtilse This month, we are bringing you a series of stories commissioned by TransferWise for their incredible Faces of Australia campaign, celebrating the contributions of migrants to Australia. @transferwise #migrants #migration #Mexico #Australia #mums #mums4refugees #TransferWise #moneywithoutborders #facesofaustralia
"We lived in Sutherland Shire. There weren’t many other Indian families at the time so it was confusing being so Indian at home and Australian at school. Even my name sounded strange to my classmates. I didn’t feel confident enough to be Indian or openly celebrate Indian festivals because I spent my younger years trying so hard to be Australian. No one knew I could speak a second language until I was past Year 12. (…). Now in my 30s, I’m embracing both cultures because I am comfortable with being different, being who I am and the diverse background that I come from. What I love most about Australia is the lifestyle. We are in a wonderful part of the world with access to beautiful beaches, good education and work opportunities. It’s so multicultural now and a young, fun country. I feel lucky to be here." Follow link in bio to read Dharmica's full story and what being an Aussie means to her. . . . . . . #facesofaustralia #Australia #Sydney#Aussie #migrantstories#MoneyWithoutBorders #Inspiration#Innovation #StoriesNotStereotypes
What does it mean to be an 'Aussie'? We believe being Australian is more about recognising where and who we are now and where we hope to go, as much as where we've come from. So, over the next weeks, we're putting a spotlight on the inspiring stories of Aussie migrants and how they're impacting our community. Stay tuned! . . . . . . . #facesofaustralia #Australia #Sydney #Aussie #migrantstories #MoneyWithoutBorders #Inspiration #Innovation #StoriesNotStereotypes