Nedhal Amir came to Australia from Iraq with her husband and four children in 2005, after applying for a humanitarian entrance visa.
They fled Iraq “because of the religious discrimination,” she said. “My children, they were suffering persecution in school because of religion, because I am from the Mandaean community. Although Nedhal spoke English already, she said adjusting to Australian life was still difficult. “The lifestyle, the rules – all of it – it was a big challenge for us,” she said.
Nedhal has worked in the resettlement of refugees shortly after her arrival in Australia, she began volunteering at the local community centre supporting individuals and assisting with supporting women’s groups. Shortly after she was employed by CORE Multicultural Services (formally knows and the Fairfield Migrant Resource Centre) as a settlement worker, supporting newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants from Iraq and continued her work with Settlement Services International in case management.
Nedhal established the Mandaean Women’s Union in Australia in 2006 to help the newly-arrived women re-settle with support in the forms of information sessions and outreach courses from TAFE. She has also worked as a reporter at the AL-IRAQI Arabic-language newspaper since 2005 and ALAHAD newspaper for the Mandaean community since 2006. Nedhal continues to work in supporting her local community, empowering women and young people through capacity building and self-representation ensuring that the voices of refugees are at the centre of advocacy and policy. The capacity to transform her own life and now help others is one reason Nedhal considers herself a proud Australian. “This is my country now,” she said. “It provides safety and a good life for me, my kids and grandkids.”