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Refugee week: Friends, purpose and belonging at the SES

Refugee week: Friends, purpose and belonging at the SES

Published 23/06/2017
Mostafa Karimi joined the SES as a volunteer in 2014. He arrived in Australia as a refugee from Iran. This is his story.

In 2013, Mostafa arrived in Australia as a refugee. His bridging visa did not include permission to work. “I felt useless just being at home doing nothing,” 32 year old Mostafa says. “I wanted to do something with the community and make a positive contribution.”

He joined Footscray SES Unit in September, 2014. “People here in the Footscray Unit are really friendly people and they are from different nationalities. We have people from other Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, as well as African, Indian and Malaysian backgrounds,” he says. “It’s a really multicultural unit here at Footscray.”

In Iran, Mostafa was a trained engineer. Through the SES he has embarked on further training including general rescue. “It was really good for my communication and listening skills,” Mostafa says. He’s now completed training in first aid, health and safety, and next month he will get his chainsaw training through the SES.

Mostafa is amazed at the level of commitment people have for their local community, and he’s convinced it is why we have such a great quality of life here in Victoria. The SES has given Mostafa a new vision for life. He encourages others, like him, to join. 

“SES is really good for me. I have my self-confidence back again. It’s a really good way to find friends and to know more about Australian culture.” 

Inspired? Why don’t you join the SES and volunteer? Register here.