Zerghona Jawadi from Afghanistan was among forty refugees from fourteen countries who received a 2023 education award from Canberra Refugee Support (CRS.)
Zerghona is from the Hazara minority group, which has long faced discrimination and violence in Afghanistan. She never attended school and was married at 14 years. After threats to her family, Zerghona, her husband and infant son fled to Iran. The family eventually got to Indonesia and embarked on a fishing boat for Australia. The vessel sank and after being rescued by the Royal Australian Navy, she spent three years on Nauru, where she had another son.
Zerghona and her family were eventually accepted as refugees and settled in Canberra. She studied English at the Canberra Institute of Technology and completed an Aged Care and Home and Community Care course but health issues prevented her from working in this sector. She is now studying for a Certificate III in Community Services and intends to work in the community sector. Zerghona volunteers for the Red Cross and visits residents in aged care.
Like other refugees Zerghona faced numerous hurdles before settling in Canberra and her story is one of resilience and determination.
CRS provided a $1000 award to Zerghona with which she plans to buy a laptop to help with her studies.