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Fulfilling old dreams

As a refugee arriving in Australia from Burundi 3 years ago, Omer had to face more than leaving his home country, settling in a new one and learning a new language. He also had to overcome a severe leg injury that left him unable to walk.

Omer started attending the Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council’s Conversation English and Reading Café Class, where local volunteers talk to learners wanting to practice their English in 10-minute rotations. Learners receive not only English conversation and reading guidance, but an important opportunity to socialise.

Omer surprised his trainers in quickly developing from a shy learner with low confidence in his English-speaking skills to a confident speaker and rapidly improving reader.

His journey continues to astound those around him: not only has he been accepted into La Trobe University to study a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Sociology, but through surgery and rehabilitation he has begun to walk again. Omer now proudly talks about his future plans, including the dream he had almost forgotten to one day work for the United Nations and be able to help his fellow countrymen in Burundi.