Narges_Alizadeh_photo by Louie Douvis.jpg

Photo credit to Louie Douvis

Hazara-Afghan poet, Narges Alizadeh reflects on her experience as a refugee in Australia – denied working rights, forced to live in detention with her mother and separated from her father.

I lost my land and was exposed to various forms of isolation for almost my whole life but never could deprivation erase my passion for humanity.

It has been four years since I came to Australia for medical treatment of the long term ear problem when I was at the risk of losing my hearing on Nauru. I still live with a community detention visa, which prohibits me from working, studying, travelling, and living with my father.

The reopening of schools is always an anniversary of the recurring memory of squeezing my heart with deep sorrow. When I observed others going to school, I was forbidden. I wished I were in their place.

There are many reasons why I would like to become a nurse. First, I get heartache from witnessing people suffering. Second, I am passionate to assist people through their most vulnerable moments of mental and physical pain. It is enriching to empower people to restore themselves. Third, I am keen to communicate with others and work in a team. Finally, if I had a chance to study, I could serve my community through the COVID outbreak.

Despite all the hardships I have struggled with, I still hope to find myself in a nursing classroom one day. It is a profession that can keep me on the road of learning and serving humanity for the rest of my life.

Over 100 people have signed an open letter and petition to the Australian government asking for Narges' family to be granted an exemption and that those on temporary visas be granted permanent protection and the guarantee that they won't be forced to return to Afghanistan.

The petition was started by human rights journalist, founder and editor of Writing in Resistance Saba Vasefi. Vasefi gifted the personal profits from her latest project Borderless, An Anthology of Transnational Feminist Poetry, under the name of the Borderless Scholarship to Narges and her sister Mahboubeh.

"Establishing the Borderless Scholarship is a form of civil action resisting despotism, and my way of standing with women who exist in the margin, particularly the Alizadeh family, who are living in a state of displacement within Iran and Australia for almost two decades. The issue of violence against refugee women, their deprivation from education, and the gendered harms of Australia's immigration detention regime have received little public attention." Saba Vasefi, the Borderless chief editor, said.

"Privileging marginalized women's experiences allows the historical, psychological, and cultural complexity of their situations to be understood. This alleviates the invisibility of subaltern women, enabling such atrocities as femicide in Iran and Afghanistan or the violence of indefinite detention in Australia to be undertaken with impunity" Vasefi writes.

To support the Borderless scholarship you can buy a copy of the anthology by sending an email to (subject: book order). Purchasing through this avenue will ensure that all profits go directly towards the Borderless scholarship.