Country of origin: AFGHANISTAN
John grew up in the remote farming village of Dahmerdah-e-Gulzar in Afghanistan. He lived with his family, tending to sheep and helping his father to look after the farm. The Taliban killed his older brother and came to recruit young men to fight for them on the front line. Fearful for his life, John had no choice but to leave Afghanistan. He was 17.
He arrived in Broome in Western Australia; the red earth to him felt like being on Mars. Settling in was hard for John as he struggled to make friends, and learn the culture and the language.
He was determined; after detention and moving to Melbourne he studied English, then Business, and Community Services. He worked as a driving instructor, taxi driver, real estate agent, and volunteer fire fighter. In 2014, John ran as an election candidate for the Victorian Parliament. He hopes to one day work in Geneva, representing the rights of Asylum Seekers and campaigning to end the systemic persecution of the Hazara people.