The journey to call Australia home

Ajish was born in a refugee camp, where he acquired a disability. Around 15 years old, Ajish and his family fled to Australia, where their lives have truly begun.

August 25, 2023

Aruma customers come from all walks of life, and for our customer Ajish, his story begins in Malaysia.

Ajish was born in 1995 at a refugee camp, where he acquired a brain injury and epilepsy. At around 15 years old, Ajish and his family fled to Australia, hoping for a better life. Upon arriving they entered a state of limbo and were transferred to a detention centre in Darwin, then another facility in Melbourne.

“Ajish didn’t have a great childhood, so he doesn’t like to talk about it often. He has said that he and his family spent several years in a detention centre, but he doesn’t like to dwell on the bad and prefers to look towards the future,” said Support Worker, Antony Aristovoulou.

In 2016, Aruma began providing 24/7 support to Ajish when moved to Macleod, Victoria. Some of his Support Workers, like Antony, have been there every step of the way.

“My support workers make me happy. All my support workers are doing a good job. They come to my house and help me with what I need, and we also go out. I do my shopping, go to English class, go bowling, and I am working,” said Ajish.

Antony added, “When he began receiving support from Aruma, life really started opening up for him. Before, he didn’t even have the medication he needed. His whole life has improved, and Aruma has enabled that.”

Ajish is currently living in Doreen, northeast of Melbourne’s city centre. In the last few years, his confidence has skyrocketed, and he has found a new zest for life.

“Ajish’s ability to communicate has improved massively, and so has his belief in himself. He stated attending TAFE at Melbourne Polytechnic for English classes and a table tennis and bowling group in the local community. He loves to meet new people, and I admire how happy he is to bring new people into his world,” said Antony.

This month the team have been celebrating Ajish obtaining his Resolution of Status Visa. This permanent visa allows him to stay and work in Australia and means that after meeting specific requirements, he can apply to become an Australian citizen.

“I am very happy to have my VISA. I am excited for the future,” said Ajish.

One of his first google searches after gaining his visa was local volunteer opportunities.

“Ajish came across Alex makes meals, a movement driven by volunteers that uses donations to provide warm, tasty meals for homeless and disadvantaged youth. He resonated with their purpose and knew he wanted to get involved straight away,” said Tatiana Talevski, Service Lead Community.

Before starting, Ajish obtained a working with children check and completed a Food Safety course with a score of 97%.

“For the first time in his life, Ajish can truly believe he can have a full life. He can find his calling by exploring options and learning more about his likes and dislikes,” said Antony.

Good on you Ajish. Ajish’s story was also covered by the Northern Star Weekly.

We look forward to seeing what you do next.