Refugees tell plights
LOCALS are showing us their experiences via film.
The Australian Refugee Travelling Film Festival, which screened recently, included two films by Coffs Coast locals.
Zakieh Rasouli from Afghanistan and Yai Atem from South Sudan told their respective stories about the reasons they had to leave their country of origin, the perils they endured, establishing a new life in Coffs Harbour and their hopes for the future.
Called It's the Little Things that Make a Big Difference, Zakieh tells how the kindness, understanding and respect of people made a huge difference in helping settle into a new country.
She said the biggest dream for girls in Afghanistan is to go to school, even if just for a day; although they have a great desire to learn, they often don't have the opportunity.
Yai's film, A Celebration of Life, is about his experience as one of approximately 20,000 lost boys of Sudan.
When he was 7, his village was attacked and he escaped into the forest.
He spent years travelling by foot, hiding and living in refugee camps.
"Zakieh and Yai are wonderful role models for anyone who thinks they cannot survive and thrive despite difficult experiences," Multicultural Community Development Outreach Worker Dianne Jacobus said.
"They bring a richness and vibrancy to Coffs Harbour and we are honoured to witness their stories - to share their lives."