My name is Faisal Yousif Farghaly; I identify as a Sudanese New Zealander who is now a New Zealand citizen. I was born in Sudan, where my family, relatives, and ancestry originate from. Before I became a New Zealander, I experienced a challenging resettlement journey that took all of four years. It started in 2010 when I was forced to flee as a family man from Sudan because of the ongoing oppression from the Government. My family and I then fled from Sudan to Malaysia in 2010 for safety and protection. We sought asylum for resettlement opportunities in the third country of resettlement and ended up in New Zealand.
My family and I became New Zealanders in January 2014, when we received a Permanent Resident visa while waiting in Malaysia. This was part of the UNHCR policy that ended a person’s status as a refugee, transitioning them to a Permanent Resident in their new country. It was then that my family and I became New Zealanders. We did not know anything about New Zealand when Immigration New Zealand came to interview us. INZ explained to us that New Zealand is a beautiful country and very safe for our family.
The Immigration staff was very nice. They met and greeted us at the airport. We spent six weeks in the Māngere Resettlement Centre. Those six weeks made a lot of difference in our lives. When we arrived in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2014, we saw that it is a very small island nation, and police do not carry guns, which means it is very safe for the community.
I like New Zealand because the country is safe, and health care and education are of a high standard. The people are always smiling when you look at them. That is one of the things we were missing when we were refugees in Malaysia. Life is very easy. It’s not difficult like in Sudan and Malaysia.
My wife and I studied English after leaving the Māngere resettlement centre, and I completed level 4 from Unitec in 1 year. After completing my English language course, I wanted to help the community, so I joined ARCC in 2015 and became one of the volunteers. I also started my own small business – a second-hand shop at my home. My wife also started her own business as a food provider. My wife has achieved a lot and become an instant success in Auckland. She has catered for many big organisations and companies: Auckland Council, Wise collective, Red Cross, ARCC, and many other organisations. I am also helping my wife with her business.
Currently, I am a Community Navigator at Aotearoa Resettled Community Coalition (ARCC). It has been a journey from being a volunteer and a representative of the South Sudanese community at the Coalition, then a Community Leader, and now working as a Community Navigator.
Unfortunately, I feel like there is discrimination in New Zealand System against newcomer forced migrants. I feel like there is a cultural barrier in the system, like with Immigration New Zealand, and other organisations like Work and Income. They need to understand our situation because most of us come to Aotearoa/New Zealand with very little English or knowledge of the country. They need to develop a system where they can identify special cases, like for us forced migrants. Also, there are issues with Immigration when we want to sponsor one of our families from back home to visit New Zealand. Immigration quickly rejects our applications because our relatives are coming from high-risk countries, and the person might not go back once they are here; that’s the rejection that always comes from Immigration New Zealand.
The first challenge for my wife and me is the English Language. The second is to understand the New Zealand system. We adapted to the New Zealand system in a very short period of time. My name and my skin colour were also barriers, especially against finding a suitable job.
I miss my homeland of Sudan with its beautiful landscape, people, families, relatives’ friends, natural food, my business, and going to my petrol pumps. I miss my company which I established in Sudan and took me 10 years to reach a very successful point.
My message to new residents who have experienced a similar journey: This is your country, please do your best to adapt to the New Zealand system. Please join your local community and do not isolate yourself. Maintain a positive mindset on the road to recovery, to aid the healing process and start discovering your New Zealand dream.
New Zealanders’ roles in the resettlement process should be to welcome resettled emigrants from a forced migrant background by applying the cultural value of Indigenous Māori Manaakitanga (hospitality). Let us all encourage them to feel welcome and accepted in Aotearoa/New Zealand society because we are coming from the same journey.