Posts Tagged ‘Refugee Week’

Malik Osman (HARDA’s Executive Committe Member) was featured in a video for refugee week. The theme for refugee week this year is Restoring Hope.

Malik finds his future in his past

Malik Osman is a young man with an exciting future ahead. At 22 years of age, he runs his own successful design business, is an award winning filmmaker and works on new media youth products for the NSW Community Relations Commission. Malik’s drive and determination comes from his and his family’s early life as Somalian refugees.

Malik was just 18-months-old when his mother fled the civil war in Somalia in the 1990s and found safety for herself and her five children in a refugee camp on the Kenyan border. Malik’s father, fearful for his family’s future in Somalia, had already left the country to join an uncle of Malik’s in Australia. After 18 months in the camp, when Malik was still only three, the family was accepted as refugees and his father sponsored them to join him in Australia.

To his mother, education and studying hard were the keys to her children’s future. ‘She also saw it as the means for us to go back to Somalia to help our people one day,’ Malik recalls, and the message clearly got through. He is now in his final year of a law/commerce degree, one of his brothers has an accounting degree and works in the finance industry, and his sister has a Masters in Education and operates a tutoring business.

Malik’s uncle in Australia, Hasan Omar was a strong role model for him. With a former South Australian Health Minister, John Cornwall, Hasan founded the Horn of Africa Relief Agency (HARDA), and also established an orphanage in Ethiopia caring for more than 100 children. ‘Uncle Hasan worked so hard to raise awareness in Australia about the plight of the Somali people,’ Malik, says proudly, ‘and when he suddenly died of a heart attack in 2009, it was a turning point for me. Five hundred people came to the mosque for his funeral and I thought ‘who is going to carry on his work? Who is going to look after those kids in the orphanage?’ I knew I had to step up.’

Malik’s response to the challenge was to throw himself into the work of HARDA and its overseas aid projects. Last year, he returned to Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya and says that he was ‘blown away by how tough it was for these people just to survive and what it must have been like for my mum’. Later this year, he is going back to Somalia for the first time. ‘Mum and dad aren’t real happy about it,’ he says with a smile. ‘I’ll be staying in Mogadishu. I know that I have to go to see it for myself, because it’s part of my story.’

Last year Malik also helped to raise $200 000 for the outbreak of the famine in Somalia. When asked what motivates him to be so involved, he says simply, ‘because they depend on us’.

You can read more about Malik Osman on this page