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Iraq woman given new lease on life in Caboolture

LEARNING: Skilling Queensland for Work and the Multicultural Association of Caboolture and Surrounds are helping Nabila Albayati towards employment.
LEARNING: Skilling Queensland for Work and the Multicultural Association of Caboolture and Surrounds are helping Nabila Albayati towards employment. Contributed

NABILA Albayati has lost two cousins to the conflict in Iraq, but she's determined to make a life for herself in Australia, thanks to the Multicultural Cultural Association of Caboolture.

Mrs Albayati moved here eight years ago with her dual Iraq-New Zealand citizen husband Bassam, but much of her family still remains in war-torn Iraq.

She said her sister was forced to move to Baghdad, while her cousins had their houses burned down by the government after IS forcibly took them. Her sister is in the relative safety of the capital city, but remains fearful for her life because of infighting between Shiites and Kurds.

"I'm worried about my sister. Every day I call her to see if something has happened - you just can't do anything," Mrs Albayati said.

"It's very hard now for anyone to go out. If you go outside, you don't know if you come back to home or not, because there's no safety.

"My brother-in-law's family is Kurdish, and last year they had a big problem between the Kurdish and Shiites."

Mrs Albayati said she was grateful to have given birth to all three of her children in the safety of Caboolture Hospital.

But it hasn't been an easy transition into Australian life.

"I love Australia, it's very nice. (But) when I first came, I didn't know anyone. I didn't know any English, no language, nothing.

"It was very bad. I felt alone. My husband go to work in the morning and come home in night time."

Mrs Albayati is restricted from undertaking TAFE courses because she doesn't hold Australian citizenship, but thanks to MACS and Skilling Queensland for Work, she has found an avenue to education and employment.

She has just started a free six-month childcare course, with placement and uniform provided by the government.

"I was scared to go into any course because my English is a problem," Mrs Albayati said.

"It's hard here in Australia because they want you to have certificates and you should have experience.

"Everyone is enjoying this course.

"It's very nice and very good - they help a lot."

Topics:  childcare iraq war


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