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Marie's Story

I come from Rwanda. I left because my dad had some political issues with the country.

When I got off the plane in Brisbane, I was so excited.  I felt like I was dreaming.

My family was so excited about how our life was going to change.

We couldn't believe that we had finally arrived here.  It was like a dream for my whole family.  We were so happy.

I have made so many friends since I arrived here.  Now I have different friends from so many different cultures and countries.

I do remember home...  

A lot of my family is still in Rwanda.  We used to be together each and every weekend.  I really miss them.

I remember my high school - a boarding school in the western province of Rwanda.

We didn't have water at the school.  After we finished our studies at around 4 o' clock, we would walk for seven kilometres.

Imagine walking seven kilometres to get one bucket of water.  It was really hard.

Sometimes, as students, we would just enjoy it as an opportunity to get out of school.  We weren't usually allowed to go out of school until the semester was over.

But it was really hard for us, walking seven kilometres and walking back with bucket of water.

The most important things in my life is my family.

My life story is really complicated.

When I left Rwanda, I was in my first year of university, studying Finance.  Then we had to leave the country.

Our life was totally changed.  In Rwanda, we'd had our own house.  My Mum and Dad were both working.  We went to good schools.

We went to Burundi and we had to start from zero. We had nothing.  No family.  No friends.  We didn’t know anybody.  Life was very hard.

Our family did everything we could so that our life would be better.  I did whatever I could to go back to school.

After about 18 months we were able to come to Australia, but before we did, we lost our Dad.

We wondered how we were going to live without our dad because we he was the head of the family.  He was everything for us. We felt like maybe our life was over because we had to live without our father.

When I got to Australia, I thought I would never go back to school because I was getting old.

But I made some friends and they helped me. When you struggle with a lot of things in life, it can be hard to accept them.  But with the help of my friends and family, I accept it and now I'm where I am today. I feel like I still have many more good things to come.

I'm proud of myself; where I am today. I didn’t know that I'll make it. And I'm proud of my siblings.  We're all doing whatever we can to make our Mum proud.

When I got to Australia, I felt welcomed.

I made a lot of friends from my community. They helped us through everyday life to adapt to our new country.  

When I first got here, I never thought that I could speak in English, even for one minute.  But I built my confidence and I'm really proud of where I am today.

I didn't know I could do this.

My hope for the future is to finish my studies. I'm studying a Certificate III in Health Services and I want to do a Diploma in Nursing. I like helping people.  When I came here, people helped me and I feel like I want to help others.  There are a lot of people that need help.

My message to all women all over the world...

Is to be proud of themselves, no matter what.

Whatever you're going through, if you're finding things hard, you have to fight.  You have got this.  You have the power to fight it.

You just have to be proud of yourself.  You have to tell yourself that you can do it. If you tell yourself that you can do it, you will, no matter what.

I didn't know that I could do it, but I told myself, "you've got this," and I did it.

You have to do it and be proud of yourself.

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