Country of Origin - Kenya
Region - Bundamba, South West
The dream of establishing a new business in a foreign country may seem farfetched for a Kenyan refugee, but that is exactly what Khadija Hassan Hamuda (Totoya) has achieved.
After recently moving to Australia and completing the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) through TAFE Queensland South West, the 23 year-old has opened Totoya African Hair in the Ipswich City Mall, attracting a multicultural client base and strengthening ties with her local community.
Speaking fondly of her experience with the AMEP, Totoya says, “It’s not just about learning English, it helps you to find out how things work in Australia and what pathways are available.”
“TAFE made my dreams come true”, she said.
Many opportunities exist for both further education and employment as a result of completing the AMEP, as Totoya’s three sisters have now experienced as well.
“They have been able to pursue their goals to study and go to university,” said Totoya.
After speaking at the recent Harmony Day celebrations at TAFE's Inala campus and showcasing her talents with a free hairbraiding stall, the young business owner is now focused on her long-term goal of developing a mentoring program for other African women in the industry
Totoya has been also invited by Ipswich City Council to speak at an African networking event later this year.
Country of Origin - Taiwan
Region - Mt Gravatt, Brisbane
Proving that English language upskilling isn’t just for the illiterate, Eric Huang has been putting his AMEP studies into practice with his established wine export business.
Since arriving in Australia five years ago from Taiwan, Eric soon capitalised on the exquisite products from Sirromet Winery in Brisbane, but found his English falling short when it came to high-level business operations with international associates.
“You need negotiation skills, especially in China, because people are very skilful in negotiation. I can now use my English skills to speak frankly with the winery boss so I can get a better price and we can have a strategy together,” said Eric.
Studying out of TAFE Queensland’s Mt Gravatt campus, Eric recently shared his wealth of business knowledge with other migrants and refugees in the Settlement Language Pathways to Employment and Training (SLPET) program, presenting a workshop with entrepreneurial advice and small business tips.
“You can find many government resources and do some applications online for free. These resources are very useful,” said the businessman.
Eric encourages all young or unemployed migrants and refugees to consider starting a business.
“Soon, Australia will have the largest amount of food resources in the world, so it’s a really good chance for students to sell Australian goods to their countries,” he said.
On his voyage to Australia from Iran, he has survived three years in detention and refugee camps in Jakarta and a tragic boating accident in which 200 others lost their lives, but now Yaser Naseri is well on his way to his greatest achievement yet.
After completing his 510 hours of tuition through the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) in just nine months, Yaser went on to attain a Certificate III in Spoken and Written English, which has put him on the path to success and achieving his goal of a tertiary education.
“My goal is to study at university and get a degree, and TAFE Queensland is helping me to prepare my English skills,” said Yaser.
Going beyond simply improving his English reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, the young refugee has also used his newfound cultural and community awareness into practice by volunteering for various local charities.
“I help with emergency services for the Red Cross, and at the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service I am a coordinator for an evening session where we give advice to migrants and refugees,” he said.