Sarah Yahya: “Growing up was very complicated”

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Her story: Sarah Yahya, of Liverpool, is one of the three youth speakers at The Strength of Youth: Young People and their Refugee Experiences.Picture: Simon Bennett

Her story: Sarah Yahya, of Liverpool, is one of the three youth speakers at The Strength of Youth: Young People and their Refugee Experiences.Picture: Simon Bennett

Miss Yahya, 19, has been awarded a High Order of Australia for Community Service, a Defence Force of Australia Leadership Award and Rotary Youth Leadership Award.

She came to Australian from Iraq in 2007.

She said her family fled Iraq because people of their religion [Mandaean] were being attacked and persecuted.

“I had a few bullying issues when I was growing up in Australia and especially when I was trying to grasp English,” she said.

“I was also struggling with myself and suffered depression.

“I have a saying now though, that if no one offers you a hand you find a way to pick yourself up.”

She said people settling in Australia did not always realise the challenges. “When I first moved to Liverpool, seven years ago, I didn’t know about organisations around to help people like me.

“I’ve made it my job now to show what Liverpool has to offer.”

Sarah has been chosen as an Australian representative at the 2015 Harvard National Model United Nations, and was sponsored by the University of Technology Sydney — where she is completing a combined journalism and international studies degree — to attend.

Sarah volunteers at youth mental health service HeadSpace, as well as several other community organisations. She is also hearing impaired.

Part 2 interview with Sarah Yahya: