Mary Sasa’s hope for her family was that they live a peaceful life in Australia.
Ms Sasa and her husband travelled to Australia with their six children more than a decade ago to escape conflict in Southern Sudan.
Her story will be among those shared at Ballan’s Refugee Realities event as part of National Refugee Week between June 18 and June 24.
“The situation back home is really terrible,” she said. “There’s violence, killing, distraught people, a lot of corruption and no food.
“In Southern Sudan there are many groups, many languages and many cultures … they are fighting each other.”
Ms Sasa said the relief and happiness she feels with each day in Australia was bittersweet.
“I feel happy that my children are safe here in Australia and it’s a good place to be,” she said. “But I still have my mother, brothers, cousins and relatives are still back home.”
Ballan Refugee Realities spokeswoman Elaine Conlan said the event will include music and cultural performances, a vibrant feast and an opportunity to hear refugees’ experiences.
“Our aim is to give the Ballan community an opportunity to learn from personal stories from people who have come to Australia as refugees, and together celebrate the rich and diverse contributions that they have given,” Ms Conlan said.
“The long-term purpose of the group is to be able to welcome refugee families into the Ballan community.”
Ballan Refugee Realities is on Sunday, June 18 between 12.30pm and 3.30pm at Ballan Mechanics Hall. For bookings email: firstname.lastname@example.org