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Somalian refugee's Australian success

True Local
Thursday, July 12, 2012

An Auburn resident was one of several Australians whose success story was under the spotlight for Refugee Week recently.

And Malik Osman, 22, who came to Australia as a refugee from Somalia when he was a toddler, was very humble about it.

"My story is probably not the most heartbreaking - there are probably more stories out there that are much worse," he said.

When he was 18 months old, Mr Osman's mother fled the civil war in Somalia and found safety for herself and her five children in a refugee camp in Kenya. After 18 months in the camp, the family was accepted as refugees and his father, who was already in Australia, sponsored them to join him.

"My mum said we used to live a comfortable life in Somalia, and all of a sudden civil war broke out," Mr Osman said.

His success now is a far cry from what his family endured as refugees: Mr Osman runs a graphic design business, is a filmmaker, works for the NSW Community Relations Commission, and does volunteer work for his late uncle's orphanage in Ethiopia.

"We don't take anything for granted," Mr Osman said, when explaining what it means to be a refugee.

"We'll give back as much as we can to the Australian community."

Mr Osman has never had the chance to go back to Somalia since coming to Australia, but he said the situation over there has improved and he is now hoping to visit later this year.

Malik Osman was the face of Refugee Week. He runs his own business in Auburn and is planning to head back to Mogadishu, Somalia, later this year to make a documentary. SIMON CHILLINGWORTH


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