Imagine moving to a new country, knowing few people and still learning the local language. Now add a worldwide pandemic on top of that transition. Oh… one more thing. Now add multiple lockdowns and a string of restrictions. How’s that for a welcome to your new home?

That is exactly what happened to Marzia along with her sister and mother in 2020. They arrived in Melbourne on 14 February, just before the international borders closed in Australia. They had waited nine long years to join her father who had migrated to Melbourne from Kabul in 2013 ahead of his family. Leaving his wife and girls back in Afghanistan, he worked to establish a home and life for his family while they waited for their visas to come through. In case you missed it, her family was separated for nine years!

What struck me with Marzia during our photoshoot is her positivity. She absolutely radiates optimism. She has experienced some harsh realities in her life, which has made her even more thankful to in Australia, despite a pandemic and lockdown. She is kind and soft spoken, but brave and adventurous, ready to try new things in her new country. 

This was Marzia’s first experience on a photoshoot and she was so excited. She even came with some poses from websites she wanted to try with me. We even had some tacos afterwards, her first time having Mexian food!

We headed over to Bunjil Place for our photoshoot right before the holidays. It was my first time shooting at this beautiful concert hall and community center. What do you think of the soft curves and gorgeous lines? Stunning, right? 

We lucked out when we arrived. The hall was still closed to visitors inside. Only a lone security guard watched us from inside the building. We had the whole grounds to ourselves. Marzia also invited a friend along for the fun. 

Through Marzia I’ve met several other teens from the Afghan community here in Melbourne and listened to their stories of fleeing their war-torn countries. Have you’ve ever befriended or met one of the many Afghans or immigrants in Australia? Stretch yourself this year. Get to know one and listen to their story or arriving in this country. I’d be happy to connect you someone. Like many others, Marzia has shown great resilience, especially during an international move in the midst of a pandemic. I’m excited to introduce her as our first feature of Project Resilience.

 soft-spoken, brave and radiating optimism

Reach out to one of the many immigrants in australia. ask them about their story of arriving to this country.

Bunjil Place