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Jumabi Mohamad Ali

Jumabi was very ill when she arrived in Melbourne. She suffered from the after-effects of the stressful boat journey to reach safety. Homesick, she missed the support of her extended Rohingya family.  

Initially she and her husband and children were housed in Box Hill. She found it very quiet and isolated, and a long way from the children’s school. It was winter, Melbourne was freezing, and she had few warm clothes. She recalls ‘crying and crying’ and pleading with her case worker to be moved. 

Luckily the house sold, and the family moved to Springvale, which has a thriving Rohingya community. There she found support and shares her language skills to help others at the Community Hub attached to the high school. 

Her husband’s visa requires him to live regionally. He is studying English in Morwell, where he lives with her sister’s family. He sees Jumabi and their three children in Melbourne every weekend. 

Social media enables Jumabi to communicate with family who still live in Myanmar, but their lives are in danger. They now flee Rhakine State, formerly Arakan, for camps in Bangladesh.  Despite her sorrow at her inability to help her extended family, Jumabi is happy. She and her family have been safe in Australia for eight years.  

Jumabi took great joy informing her delighted mother that she had a real teaching job in a school. She has achieved the goal of education for herself and her family that started them on their perilous journey. 

That’s why I never give up. I tried my best.  

Jumabi and the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, 2019
Government House, Melbourne
photographer unknown