Listen to Abour (Grace) Jook:
ABOUR (GRACE) JOOK is from Bor in southern Sudan, but lived in Kenya for several years before coming to Australia in 2004. In Kenya she stayed at Kakuma refugee camp at the age of eight and also lived with her uncle’s family.
Since arriving in Blacktown, Grace has completed her Higher School Certificate (HSC) and is now studying international welfare at university. She has undertaken a professional placement at a local social service organisation and would like to set up a program to improve the educational opportunities of Sudanese students.
It was during the war and we were all separated … my mum returned to Sudan … my little sister disappeared.
Two very close friends that are Sudanese … we met here in Australia and we supported each other … it was hard … with disrupted schooling … other people had eight years of straight schooling that we didn’t have. … So every day after school we went to the library and one person does a chapter of biology … one maths … one English. One hour before the library closed, we came together and we do a presentation. That’s how we studied and that’s how we passed our HSC … We can actually do it [at SydWest Multicultural Services] for other Sudanese young people that are studying. We can form a group for them, especially the ones doing the HSC.
Interview by Shar Jones, Blacktown City Council Museum Advisor
Photograph by Marian Abboud