It’s been 41 years since Tomas set foot in his home country of Sudan, but he’s hoping that’s all about to change.

Earlier this month, Tomas fulfilled a long-time wish when he became an Australian citizen at a celebration at our exceptional needs aged care facility in Brompton.

In the 1980s, Tomas fled the Sudanese civil conflict with his son and pursued work in Jordan and Iraq.

Around 25 years later as the war escalated in Iraq, he was again forced to flee, and brought his son to Australia for a better life.

To this day, Tomas hasn’t had the opportunity to reunite with his family in Sudan.

“For the first time in years he feels a sense of belonging.”

Daniel Aimes, AnglicareSA Brompton lifestyle coordinator

“The citizenship and passport enables him to travel overseas, but the main thing for Tom is the sense of identity and feeling whole again.”

Tomas arriving at his surprise citizenship celebration at AnglicareSA Brompton.

After arriving in Australia, Tomas experienced a run of depression and health issues, and lost touch with his son and local community.

In 2015, he came to Brompton needing support after losing everything in a fire – including vital personal belongings, documentation and identification.

“When he came to us he wasn’t doing too well – he basically had nothing which made it tough when trying to access services for him,” Daniel said.

“But he’s come a long way – he’s doing well now.”

Tomas’ health and demeanour has improved drastically over recent years.

When talking about his citizenship, a massive smile consumes Tomas’ face.

He’s proud to officially call Australia home and knows it wouldn’t have been possible without the support and compassion from those around him.

Daniel endured a tiring nine-month process to get Tomas his citizenship and passport – he reached out to various government agencies around the country and located Tomas’ son.

“It means I’m happy now – I’m an Australian now. It means it’s my second home.”

Tomas
Daniel Aitchison (General Manager, Aged Care Services) and Mary Awata (Principal, Multicultural Services) checking out Tomas’ new passport.

Tomas now enjoys socialising with other residents and gets out whenever possible – one of his favourite places being a Sudanese restaurant in Adelaide’s north.

“They [AnglicareSA staff] take me out, we go and get food out, sometimes we go shopping,” Tomas said.

“Daniel’s my brother – he takes care of me.”

Tomas is working hard to improve his health and save a bit of money so he can travel to South Sudan to rekindle family relationships.