WE 365: Youth Voices on Immigration and Refugees

The challenges and gifts of immigrants and refugees is the topic for WE 365: Youth voices on June 17th, and we’ll hear from Josianne Esther Sadiki, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a recent graduate of Iroquois High Schools Accelerate To Graduate program.

         As an African girl I grew up in a community that believes education is for men only and women are meant to stay home in the kitchen, get married as soon as they get their periods and give birth every year. I was lucky enough to have parents who did not believe in these myths and they decided to support my education in every way, but the community was giving me different names only because I decided to take the Education path instead of abiding by their beliefs. Along with these challenges came war, famine and natural disasters that made us flee from our country looking for stability like other 70.8 million people who have been forced to flee their homes for different reasons.  I am passionate about Education of young refugees and immigration in general. According to statistics 3.7million refugee children do not go to school. I have first hand knowledge of how disrupted these children’s lives get daily.

         To reduce this rate I organized a project called Back To School, this project has a purpose to help young refugees in East Africa and victims of war and natural disasters in Congo to succeed academically and with life skills. I personally have managed to pay 1 semester tuition for 4 children. When I got a financial problem it was very sad for me and the children I helped because that meant they should stop school. When the lockdown is over, I will share it with more people to get funds for these hopeless souls to get a smile back. For me to be this educated, there were people from Australia who sacrificed their money and made sure I went to school and paid everything in full. Fulfilling this project is a compassionate way of paying back to the community for what a good deed that others did for me.

      The other thing I do is to advocate for immigrants and refugees in every way. I go to the state capitol to talk about bills that affect us on different days of the week that are dedicated to refugees and immigrants and to raise our concerns in the community to our senators and legislators. I have made different videos to bridge the gap between hosts and the immigrants so that both can feel at ease with each other and adjust easily.

 Esther Sadiki, Iroquois high school( A2G) class of 2020.