Kwibe Nickolas’ Story

“Hi my name’s Kwibe Nickolas, I’m Congolese by nationality. I’ve been in Australia for one year and 7 months. I’m 27 years old.

When I came to Australia I went to Tafe Wollongong studying English, I was there for 6 months. After that I went to Tafe Shellharbour doing my course – Certificate III in Aged Care – which I did, and now I’m finished. Now, I’m planning to go to Uni to do Nursing and become one day a Nurse.

When I finished my high school in Congo in 2008 I got my Diploma in Commerce and Business, then I worked for one year in my country. After that I was studying another course, and after that I got a problem.

I was born into tribal. My father was killed by family members, and my mum remarried into another tribe. There was conflict between my tribe and the one my mum had married into – there was enemy between us. My family was not happy that my mother was going to be remarried into another tribe, so I became a target and enemy to my family. My family was going to follow me and kill me, because of how I accepted that my mum was marrying another man in a different tribe.

So one day I had a problem. I was living with my mum, and I was on my way to school. I was caught on my way to school by my family. I was beaten, seriously beaten, by stick and by everything. Then one of the people who caught me said “kill him.” Then another said, “Oh, we should not kill him,” and so (instead) they cut my finger off. They left me there, thinking that I had already died. Later, someone was passing and looked in the bush. They said “oh he’s dead,” but after checking, they realised I was still alive. So they took me to hospital.

My mum and stepfather were looking for me and found out I was in hospital. I spent 3-6 months in hospital. When I came back from hospital, my stepfather said it looks like you and your family want to kill me and my family – so I became a target for them too.

It was horrible for me because I could not study and it was very dangerous. One day my stepfather, who was an Army officer, said to one of the bodyguards, “I want to kill this man.” The bodyguard told my mum that my stepfather wanted to kill her son (me). She said to me, “I don’t want to see you killed and me not being able to do anything, it would be better if you go.” My mum gave me some money, and said “I don’t know where you’re going, but may God bless you.”

So then, in 2010, I left my country. I stopped studying, I stopped working, I left my country, and went to Uganda. It was August 2010, and I went straight away in the (Refugee) camp. I was very hard for me to be living in the camp because I went from a simple life, studying, working, no problems with anyone – to living in the bush. You live with animals, snakes etc. You don’t know where you’re going, and you don’t know where you are, just living a life without any future. I lived in the camp on my own for 5 years.

When I was living in the camp, I thought, I’ve studied business at school. So I started a small business selling petrol in the camp. That helped me a lot of times, because I could not suffer the hunger I saw other people suffer. People died because of lack of food or no medical treatment. It’s not good in the camp.

So I live there for 5 years, and I thank God because my sister had been in Australia for 5 years. But it was 2 years in the camp before I heard anything about my sister. One day I got a phone call from one of my friends saying, “Did you know that your sister is in Australia?” I said no, and that I thought my sister died in 1998.

I got my sister’s number and called her. She could not believe it. I told her I was in a camp and everything that had happened. She said, “I’ll do something.” She sent me a form to get me into Australia. The first time I was rejected by the Government. I felt like someone was killing me at the time. I was thinking for the first time, I have a future, I have hope. Why did this happen?

As I’m a Christian I could not give up. I kept praying, and asking God, “help me please.” One day God answered my prayer and my sister said she found someone who will help you.

So in 2014 I got a call from the Australia Government asking me to come into an interview. I passed that, and passed medical checks. So after that they said, “Welcome to Australia.”

I reached Australia in February 2015. At first I couldn’t recognise my sister. She brought me home and I came to live in Wollongong. When I reached Wollongong I came to Tafe doing English. After that I wanted to pursue my career – It’s never too late. The past is just the past, now we are in present. We need to go forward and not backward.

Now I’m in Australia, I’ve finished my Certificate III in Aged Care, and I’m planning to go to Uni and do Nursing, and become a Nurse one day. That is my future and what I plan in my goals. I’m also helping other refugees. My friends and I sponsor Congolese student living in a camp. So we’re helping those who cannot afford school fees. We are supporting them by sending them money to go to school.”