Fadak Alfayadh was 10 when she arrived in Australia as a refugee.
A few days later, her family celebrated the New Year safe from the bombs that were raining down on her home town in Iraq following the US-led invasion.
Her father, a surgeon, escaped to Malaysia some years earlier in a bid to avoid conscription into Saddam Hussein’s army. From there, he travelled to Australia by boat and was put in detention before eventually being released. The rest of the family moved to Jordan as displaced persons until they were granted a Family Reunion Visa to come to Australia.
Impatient is a good word to describe Alfayadh. At just 26, she has stopped and started different careers to do more to achieve justice for the down and out. Community law and the ways it can achieve what Alfayadh calls “transformative justice” have become her passion.
She says she has learned that there is a difference between law and justice but that this knowledge will not slow down her efforts to help the vulnerable. If anything, it has made her more determined.
Alfayadh completed her legal studies at La Trobe University in 2013 but not before taking a break to work in the community sector with marginalised groups, including refugees.
She now works for Women’s Health West in Melbourne, in a role focused on promoting gender equality and raising awareness about violence against women. In her spare time, she travels around the country to share her refugee story with metro and regional communities. Her goal is to humanise public discourse.
“The idea of my “Meet Fadak” events was to mix social media campaigning with advocacy. I am travelling around Australia to tell my story and highlight how the welcome and the resources I was given by the community made me who I am today.