By Alesha Capone
Tarneit author and academic William Abur is hoping that a book he has written will inspire others to help young people.
Titled A New Life with Opportunities and Challenges, the book weaves Dr Abur’s own experiences as a refugee, social worker and scholar with those of other people from the South Sudanese-Australian community.
Dr Abur, a lecturer at Deakin University, said he spent three years writing the book on weekends and during his spare time.
He said the book was born out of a PhD he completed at Victoria University, where he majored in sociology with a particular interest in the settlement of refugees in new countries.
Dr Abur is also a member of Wyndham council’s Community Stories program, in which he shares his story with other residents at local events.
Dr Abur came to Australia in 2005 at the age of 28, when his birth country South Sudan was in the midst of war.
Accompanied by his wife and son, Dr Abur migrated to Australia from a Kenyan refugee camp.
“The opportunities in Australia are many: employment opportunities, education, freedom – so much to be thankful for,” he said.
Dr Abur said that the challenges of migrating to a new country included unemployment, racism and discrimination in both the workplace and at school.
“When you talk about opportunities you also need to talk about the challenges; in the western suburbs of Melbourne, young people are not settling well or perhaps are caught between two different cultures,” he said.
Dr Abur, who has worked at a Tarneit secondary college as an African liaison officer, said that empowering young people and building their networks – such as through sport – was a way to help the community.
“I loved writing the book as it will provide inspiration to help young people,” he said.
“The Australian community is positive and even small acts of kindness can make big changes.
“We are all human – we need each other.
“Be kind, we need to support each other for our humanity.”