Iraqi refugee helps others reach goals

Helping others: Handre at the Department of Human Services in Fairfield.

Helping others: Handre at the Department of Human Services in Fairfield.

Iraqi refugee Handre is using his own experience to help newly arrived refugees reach their goals.

Handre, who asked for her surname to be withheld, and his family were forced to flee war torn Iraq in 2003 when they were threatened because of his father's work at a local newspaper.

He left behind his university studies in Baghdad. He gained a new goal in Australia: to teach others about the importance of pushing yourself to succeed.

After years of study and hard work, Handre now helps other newly arrived refugees' access government support at the Department of Human Services in Fairfield.

"When I first arrived in Australia, I could speak English, but I was embarrassed by my accent and was shy about replying. It took some time but I knew I had to start talking to people. I thought how will I reach my goal if I don't try," he said.

"In Australia if you have a goal you will be able to reach it.

"I like to be able to show people that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything."

Handre, who speaks Chaldean, Arabic and English, helps refugees navigate the government system in their own language. He uses his experience to encourage them to embrace their new lives.

"I know how they think and I try my best to be really helpful," Handre said.

"Now I can ask people where they want to be in the next 5 to 10 years and help them make their lives even better."