Territory Stories

The Centralian advocate Fri 20 Jun 2014



The Centralian advocate Fri 20 Jun 2014


Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers.; Australia, Central -- Newspapers

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

Place of publication

Alice Springs

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

Copyright owner

Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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FRIDAY JUNE 20 2014 NEWS 11 V1 - CAVE01Z01MA Journey to a better life South Sudanese refugee Deng Gatluak feels welcomed in Australia. Picture: JUSTIN BRIERTY A LOT of people come to town looking to gain experience in their line of work and to explore the beautiful landscape of the Red Centre. But for others, Alice Springs is more than just a place to learn skills and enjoy a true blue Territory lifestyle. For many it is a refuge from their homeland. It is a place to escape war, genocide, torture and persecution. This week the Red Centre joins the rest of the country in celebrating Refugee Week, an annual event to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions they make to Australian society. One such person is Deng Gatluak. Born in South Sudan in 1972, Deng witnessed the Second Sudanese Civil War which started in 1983. Two years later, Deng fled the country as a child with his mother and father. It took them a week walking in a large group from South Sudan to get to the refugee camp in Ethiopia. Deng described it as being a hard place to live. In the camp you cant get what you are getting here in Australia, he said. The housing are huts made out of grass. When it comes to food and everything we had to pull out fire wood to cook with. We fetched our water from the water points set up by the refugee camp. Its a very hard life it was not easy. The family stayed in the camp until 1991 when they travelled back to the Ethiopian and Sudanese border. It was here Deng made an incredibly hard decision. I decided to go back to Ethiopia by myself to do my education, he said. I was still in junior school. I stayed there until I finished my high school. At this time my father had already passed away, and my mother remained at the border because it was not good for her. I knew there would be other students to look after me but for her it would be hard to live in between so many boys in huts. After completing school Deng stayed in the camp and began working for Save the Children, an international aid and development agency. It was here that he met an Australian who was also working for the organisation. This man was from Sydney and he asked me if I would like to go for a resettlement in Australia, Deng said. The man said: if youre a family man your kids would be looked after by the government and you can go to school. You are welcome to come. It took me two years once I had filled out the paper work. I arrived in Australia on the April 14 2001, when I was 29 years old. They lived in Alice Springs for one year before moving to South Australia so Deng could complete a degree in Social Work. Seven years later the family returned to town, and now Deng works for Anglicare. I feel welcome, I dont see any problem for me. Together with his wife they now have three sons and two daughters. Australia will remain a second home forever. My kids who are growing up here, they know they are South Sudanese but they will never see Africa as they do Australia, Deng said. If I hadnt left South Sudan, I would either be dead or have fled to another country, he said. You live life here with no fear, its a good thing being in Australia. Monika OHanlon LIFESTYLE WRITER You live life here with no fear, its a good thing being in Australia