Celebrating women in the Asylum Seekers Centre community

As we mark International Women's Day, we pay tribute to the remarkable women of the ASC community March 07, 2024

Women in our community face extensive and often prolonged hardship seeking asylum in Australia. Yet despite unimaginable trauma and against the backdrop of a system that is stacked against them, the courage, strength, and resilience of women who aspire to rebuild their lives is astounding.

The reasons women seek asylum are often gendered. Many flee war, persecution, and violence, as well as facing the additional risk of physical and sexual violence because of their gender. These issues are often not only experienced in their home country, but also in the place they seek safety, with family violence prevalent among those we support.

We are inspired by the strength of the women in the ASC community every day, but International Women’s Day (#IWD) marks an opportunity to yet again pay tribute to those who we have the great privilege of supporting.

This support is vital for the women who walk through our doors. Many have survived violence and dangerous journeys only to find new challenges when they arrive in Australia. Their voices are silenced by the system, their stories left untold, their experiences ignored.

As we celebrate the achievements and acknowledge the challenges women the world over face on IWD, it’s essential to centre the voices of women seeking asylum. Their stories are testaments to the incredible power of the human spirit to overcome unimaginable obstacles.

If we are to forge a better world, we must listen to women who have sought asylum, understand their stories, and draw inspiration from their determination and fortitude.

For Sangee, telling her story proved a source of strength, pride, and ownership in her journey to seek safety and justice.

“Writing and telling my story on my terms is a deeply personal and empowering experience. I finally have control over how I present my narrative, focusing on the aspects that matter most to me.

“It’s a form of self-expression that aids in processing my experiences, helping me to heal. It also allows me to create authentic connections with others who resonate with my journey, fostering a sense of understanding and shared experiences.”

To simply listen is to be inspired. To witness the achievements of women seeking asylum is to be amazed.

Thouraya is a source of inspiration to so many facing similar circumstances. She hopes her journey and her storytelling will make their experiences a little easier.

“There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing my immense effort transformed into reality. I hope my story and the challenges I faced mean fewer challenges for others.”

Hazeema’s* story of being inspired by the women around her started young, and empowered her through her journey to flee danger, seek safety, and work to rebuild.

“I draw strength from my mum. My family went through hardship, but my mum stood with her full power. She inspired me and showed me the way for what was to come.

“When I arrived in Australia, we started with nothing. The kindness of strangers gave me strength. Strength to be there for my children, even when I feel low or the circumstances are difficult.

“It was a woman who held my hand when I first arrived in Australia, taught me about this country, and shared her stories to help guide me. She left a huge impact on me, and we still keep in touch.

“And of course Felicia at the Asylum Seekers Centre, who helped me and my children. She showed me the way, helping me undertake courses to learn new skills and be there for my family.”

This International Women’s Day and every day, let us draw our strength and inspiration from the remarkable women who face unimaginable circumstances, undertake perilous journeys, and have the courage to rebuild. And let’s use that inspiration to redouble our efforts to shape a more just and equitable world for all.

People seeking asylum in Australia shouldn’t have to trade danger for degradation Women are the fabric of our community