By Danielle Kutchel
A young woman from Darfur in Sudan is encouraging others to aim high and achieve their dreams, as she takes the first steps on her own career path.
Cranbourne resident Amina Ali recently graduated from university with a Bachelor of Criminology and is well on her way to becoming a social worker.
The 22-year-old has overcome numerous challenges to get there.
When she arrived in Australia at the age of eight, she spoke no English.
She was enrolled in the Noble Park English Language School for a year to pick up the language but said that even learning the alphabet was “so difficult”.
Nevertheless, she persisted with the backing of her family.
“My dad wanted his children to succeed and become the better tomorrow,” she said.
She managed to learn the alphabet in just months, and started primary school in grade four.
She had support from charitable organisations that helped encourage her in her studies.
But Amina said she struggled in year 12 too, with people recommending she do VCAL as they didn’t think she would be capable of VCE.
“I felt like people doubted me, like I couldn’t make it.
“But ever since I was in primary school I was a hard worker and a pusher,” she said.
She made it through mainstream VCE English and got good scores in Legal Studies and History, then moved on to a diploma in family and youth intervention before enrolling at university.
“I felt like it was a dream come true,” she said.
Amina paid tribute to her friends, who created a support network around her to help her succeed, and her “incredible” high school English teacher Mr Shinkfield, her history teacher Mr Lenard, and her university teachers Dr Graham and Professor Watson.
She said she’ll focus on the job hunt once Covid restrictions ease, but has her sights set on social work.
“A lot of the kids in the Sudanese community are all over the media for being involved in crime.
“By them reading stories like mine, I want to make a change.”
Amina said she also wants to encourage young people in her community to achieve whatever their own dream is.
“Everybody is great in their own way and everything is achievable if you put your mind to it,
“We need to support them in whatever they wish to endeavour.”