“My name’s Azita. I’m Afghani, but I was born in Iran. My parents were born in Afghanistan but forced to flee because of the Revolution – my father was a politician, on the opposing side. My uncle was shot for his political beliefs and later died.
My parents felt safe and comfortable in Iran in the 1970s under the rule of the Shah of Iran. My 4 younger sisters and I were born in Kharaj, 2 hours from Tehran. But under the new government of Ayatollah Khomeini, everything changed for our family. My father was no longer allowed to work as a teacher; we had to pay higher taxes than others. As Afghanis we had no rights – we were not accepted as citizens. We were prevented from going to school, it was difficult to find work.
When my father passed away in a car accident, my mother wanted to move…My mother heard that she could apply for a refugee visa. I wanted us to move to Australia – far away from all of the unrest. It took 2.5 years to complete the process with the Iranian staff at the Australian embassy…My mother was incredibly persistent – we were finally granted visas.
When I arrived here, I loved the beauty of the landscape, but it was so hard doing everything in another language; it was a difficult, depressing time. I studied English at TAFE, my sisters enrolled in school. I am now studying Midwifery at UOW.”