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Dimo's Speech

On Monday March 8th one of our students from Somalia, Dimo Akol, spoke to the girls at Beverly Hills Girls Highschool with the intention of giving them an insight into the experiences of the Sudanese refugees. It was an emotional event and had an intense impact on the Highschool girls who were extremely kind and expressive in their appreciation. This is her speech.

I come from Sudan in Africa, a long way from Australia.

Hello, my name is Dimo Akol and I come here today to tell you my story.

I come from Sudan in Africa, a long way from Australia. I lived in Waw, a town in the South of Sudan.

My country is a very beautiful country and when I was a small child life was good. But then the war came.

People came with guns. I saw them take children from 3 years old to ten years old as prisoners. The children had nothing to fight with or protect themselves because the enemy had the guns.

Some rich men used to buy the children to work as slaves in houses or factories. Sometimes they took the children to train them as soldiers to kill their own people

We didn't have any food or drink so everybody was hungry and our food was dropped from a plane.
At 7 o clock in the evening one night a plane dropped a bomb on the mosque beside my house. We were very scared and saw people killed and dead and without some parts of their body.

I ran away with my family but my brother ran away before us and we lost him. We ran to a place to hide for several days.
After that we left Sudan by boat to Egypt. We lived in Egypt for 4 years. My mother, my father and myself started to work because we needed money.

My family lived in Cairo but for the first year I had to work in Alexandria. I worked as a servant. I was 12 years old and did not speak the language. I could not see my family for the whole time and this was the loneliest time of my life. In that year my father died and I could not even go to his funeral.

After that I went back to Cairo and worked as a servant for a family in Cairo. It was a difficult family to work for and they made me work 18 hours a day but at least I could see my family once a week.

After 3 years we were accepted to come to Australia to start a new life.

We came to Sydney in November 2003 and I came to Beverly Hills IEC to learn English.

These 4 months in Sydney have been happy ones for me and my family. I will tell you why.

For the first time I feel secure from war and death because in Sudan I didn't know if I would be alive tomorrow or if I would eat.

In Australia I have choice because in Egypt I could not study and was forced to work. Now I can start to enjoy my life and be like any other 16 year old girl in this wonderful country.

I love my school and my new friends. Once again I have choice in my life.
Thank you for listening to my story. I hope this will help you understand how difficult life has been for me and the other Sudanese students.

We are all very lucky to live in a country where there is no war or hunger.