Tara was greeted by two Red Cross staff members at Adelaide airport seven months after fleeing Iran. She never guessed that one day she'd be working alongside them.
[****Image of Tara****]
"Community is a place of belonging, support and safety. Being welcomed into the community makes a huge difference in the life of a refugee or someone seeking asylum.
"Seven months after feeling Iran, my family-my husband and three children-arrived in Adelaide. Red Cross helped us settle into our new community and this inspired me. I wanted to help people who were in situations like mine.
"My caseworker advised me to focus on my English first, and then to study social work. So that's what I did: for the next three years I studied English and community services.
"I took a study placement with Red Cross and ended up working alongside my old caseworker. She didn't recognise me at first but was amazed when she realised.
"When this study placement finished, I stayed on as a volunteer for one day a week, helping check on the wellbeing and health of clients. And because I can speak Persian, I can speak with Afghani people too.
"Then a job vacancy opened in the migration support team. By then I had studied, I had volunteered, I had language skills and life experience-so I applied. I was so excited when I found out I got the job!
[**** Image of Tara's refugee story****]
"I enjoy this work. I love talking to the people we help and listening to their stories. It's about giving people hope. When they leave the office with a big smile on their face, that's when I know I've made a difference.
"Now I'm studying for a Bachelor of Social Science and I hope to complete a master's degree in social work too.
"Many refugees and asylum seekers have a very strong desire to make a positive contribution to society. They have been welcomed by this country and feel that they owe something. They want to give back-and so do I."
[**** Image of Help refugees and asylum seekers in your community****]
Australia is one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world and there are many things you can do to make your community an even more welcoming, more supportive and more inclusive place to live.
You could offer someone practical help to settle in, show someone how to access the local services, help them to learn or practice English, or help to establish friendships and networks.
Here's five easy things you can do to help refugees and asylum seekers where you live.
Refugee stories: making a difference
How Red Cross makes a difference
Red Cross' Migration Support Programs assist refugees, asylum seekers, people in detention centres, people who may have been trafficked or forced into marriage, people who've been separated from their loved ones and other people who are vulnerable as a result of migration.
We work with people regardless of how they arrived in Australia and regardless of their immigration status because we believe that everyone deserves the right to dignity and respect.
Find out how Red Cross is making a difference to the lives of refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants.
To help us, you can donate to our work supporting refugees and asylum seekers in crisis.