One of hundreds of refugee students in this fantastic city, I arrived Hong Kong in 2014.
When I first came with my family, I did not know anyone or anything. Everything was new to me, the language, the culture, the people etc. It was very difficult to communicate with people, as I had zero proficiency in the English language back then. It took me a long time to adapt to the new living environment.
Due to language requirements, I started my journey in secondary school, although having almost completed my secondary school in my home country. The education system was very different between my country and Hong Kong. It was very difficult for me to maintain my level of academic achievements; I was upset and frustrated as I tried my best in my studies. Within 6 months, I was able to communicate with my classmates and teachers. My progress surprised my teachers and my principal even told me that China offered me a scholarship since I was such a fast-learner!
Unfortunately, I was not able to leave Hong Kong due to my refugee status. I did not give up and kept going. Whatever I faced, I took them as a learning opportunity. The life of a refugee is not easy at all and I was forced to be in the situation. I thank God for saving my life and giving me this chance to a new one even though it is full of struggles and challenges. Through these experiences, I learnt a lot.
Another difficulty I faced was my living situation. The cost of living in Hong Kong is very expensive and since I am the eldest son, I felt the responsibility of providing a comfortable living environment for my family. However, for many reasons I cannot work, this means that I have no income. This made me nervous and I felt inefficient in terms of trying to maintain the quality of living for my family.
It is not easy when you move to a completely new country as a refugee. I did some internships in Hong Kong and I joined different human rights courses as well as spend my weekends teaching refugees English. I strongly believe that without education, I am nothing and I will have no value.
All these experiences have made me stronger and I have become a leader in my community. I am a co-founder of an organisation that stands for refugees in Hong Kong, providing good education to the people that do not have the opportunity and supporting young asylum seekers and refugees build their skills and equip them to become leaders. Along with our organisation, I am also leading a programme that feeds the homeless in Hong Kong. I proudly fight for our rights to live as human beings.
My current worries are the uncertainty of my life as a refugee, whether I can ever get out of this situation, I worry also for my family and our future. I am doing my best and taking action to find a way to help my family and myself. With this situation, I cannot do whatever I aspire to be doing and that is really hard for me.
What I worry most is how I am able to complete my higher education. My hope is to complete my education and to fight for human rights around the world. I want to create a platform for these people to speak up, to let the world hear their voice and for refugees to be seen. I am hopeful; I will not give up and will continue to take action.
By sharing my education journey, my message to refugees is “DO NOT GIVE UP!” Whatever happened, work hard, think positively, tomorrow will be better. Take an action to help yourself. Do not be ashamed because you are a refugee, you have no choice and you were forced to be in this situation. Use these challenges as life lessons to gain knowledge. We may be victims, but we fight to live through all the challenges we face every day!
To the people of Hong Kong, I love you from the bottom of my heart. I love Hong Kong city and I am very glad to be here despite my difficult living situation. I have hope that we can fight together to distribute love, justice and human rights that are missing in our lives.
Together, let us achieve equality.
*Photo is used for illustration purpose only.
*Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.