I am a 24-year-old refugee from South Sudan who has been calling Australia “home” for 16 years.

I was five years old when I was adopted by my cousin to have a better life. My cousin, her husband and I migrated to Egypt. I commenced study in Egypt, where I could not understand a single word of English and struggled drastically with fitting in at school.

I came to Australia with my cousin’s family in 2005.

In 2013, I went back home, met my biological parents, siblings and extended family. That was the best part of my young life. However, I felt extremely strange and uncomfortable to call my parents “mum” and “dad” as I never said it. They were strangers that I had strong ties to. I still carry this feeling today.

After three months, I came back to my second home to continue high school. When I was in Year 11, I discovered my passion for writing but I was told by my English teacher that I am a “terrible writer,” and I believed it for the next five years.

In 2021, I completed my Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Law at Macquarie University.

I was working as a bartender in an area that was very populated with migrants and often a lot of them would talk to me about things that were happening in their lives. The hours that I was doing, coupled with my troubles and a load of these people’s too, prompted me to start journaling. I would take my little notebook to work when it got quiet. I started writing and my poetry journey started.

I am amazed at my capabilities, how far I've come with my writing and the potential that I have to be a professional poet.