Saajeda’s voice of strength and advocacy has built volume over the years, amplified through her various lived experiences. And experience she has, being a powerful advocate for her community and the ASRC, not shying away from addressing what must be faced.
Like many who come seeking safety, the story begins long before the act of seeking asylum. For Saajeda, it starts as far back as her childhood in which disparity was a key theme.
Saajeda’s childhood and youth were scattered with defining moments in which she was made aware of blatant differences in her treatment, due to both her gender and her ethnicity. Even from the age of a child, she was able to perceive the contrasting experiences between herself and her brother.
“Girls are more restricted, there are more rules and regulations, how they behave, what they do, what they shouldn’t, what they wear, what they can even study, what they cannot and who are they going to marry.”
It is through her own lived experiences that Saajeda brings such a deep level of empathy and compassion to her advocacy, reminding politicians and the public of what is most important; the humans being impacted.
“It’s not just about having a piece of documentation…but what happens in daily life, what happens on a day-to-day basis to people.”
In August of this year, Saajeda delivered this message at the ALP National Conference, reminding the party of their promises and the consequences that delayed action was having on people. Thousands of refugees and people seeking asylum still remain trapped in the anguish of uncertainty as they await their visa outcomes.
“Not having any rights means having no life, you breathe for sure, you live, you wake up, you move but you cannot set up goals, you can’t have dreams, you don’t have hopes…this moment of hopelessness keeps taking over you.”
Saajeda presented the ALP with a voice that knew the impact that these policies had: her voice. Through her message, she advocated for work rights, study rights, access to social support services such as Medicare and permanency for the thousands of refugees impacted by the fast-track system.
The weight of an unfair and inhumane system and the toll it takes is something that has deeply impacted Saajeda and her family. The recent passing of her cousin, who was still waiting for the outcome of his protection claim, is an illustration of an unfair and broken system. Both Saajeda and her cousin were from the same country and faced the same risks to their safety yet faced different outcomes.
Despite her deep loss, Saajeda has urged herself on, knowing the impact of policy change for the thousands of people seeking asylum still awaiting outcomes on their protection processes, is now needed more than ever.
Saajeda’s powerful story of lived experience highlights the need for change, inspiring people of all ages to listen and act, from primary school children wanting to be involved, to a university student who signed up to volunteer at the ASRC as a direct result of her advocacy.
These moments of inspiration and action raise awareness and give refugees and people seeking asylum a platform to be heard and to be part of the solution, which is a powerful catalyst for change.
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