Colombo Plan scholarship for Hazara refugee high achiever

By Marija Jovanovic

From a life of limited education opportunities in Afghanistan, Wahida Samim has become one of Australia’s highest achieving university students.

Wahida Samim, 20, still remembers her first few days in Australia.

It was the first time she had seen her father in years.

“It was like, I think, five or six years that I hadn’t seen him and I didn’t recognise my dad at all. I had seen pictures of him, I had heard stories of him,” she told SBS News.

“People were always talking about how he would do this and he would do that. They would say you look exactly like your dad but I’m like I don’t really know my dad, I have no idea what he looks like.”

Ms Samim said her father had no other choice than to leave Afghanistan in search for a better life for his Hazara family.

In Afghanistan, the Hazara minority is persecuted and often pushed to live in remote parts of the country where there are fewer education opportunities for children.

“A lot of us were either forced to become slaves or servants or pushed to very remote central Afghanistan where it’s very harsh terrain. From my memory, even now, a lot of Hazaras are not educated because of the fact they’ve been so isolated and they’ve been so disciminated against,” she said.

Her father arrived in Australia by boat and spent seven months in detention before being granted a temporary visa.

Wahida was just eight-years-old when she arrived and even though she didn’t speak English she managed to excel at school, continuing her education at university.

Now she’s one of around 100 students chosen for next year’s New Colombo plan intake.

The federal government-funded scholarship program will allow her to spend six months in Hong Kong during the final year of her commerce degree.

“Coming to university is …read more

From:: Hazara People