For Gatluit Chuol, freedom means the right to safety and the ability to help others in crisis feel safe and supported.
Refugee Week in 2023 celebrates the theme of Finding Freedom, and this is something Gatluit seeks to help other refugees achieve in his role as a settlement coach in AnglicareSA’s Settlement Engagement and Transition Support program.
“Refugee Week always reminds me of my journey as a refugee from Sudan through a refugee camp in Ethiopia then to Australia,” he says.
“It changed my perception of hardships as a refugee.”
Gatluit describes himself as one of the lucky ones – spending just five years in the refugee camp before being supported by UNHCR to settle in Adelaide in 2000.
“My experiences help me see everyone, not just refugees, but all Australians and people going through hardships, as humans experiencing trauma and in need support and care.”
That commitment to care led to Gatluit, a former teacher, working in the refugee sector for the past 13 years, including since 2019 with AnglicareSA, giving back and acknowledging all those who supported him in finding his freedom in Australia.
“What I love about Australia is the kindness of people,” Gatluit says. “Australian people say ‘Hi mate’ even if it’s the first time they have met you and that makes you welcome and happy.
“To me that represents kindness, compassion, and empathy and I am thankful that I am able to return some of what I received everyday through my work every day with AnglicareSA supporting newly arrived families.”