Did you know an asylum seeker from Manus lives next door?

Man from Manus

Ahmad (not his real name) is an asylum seeker from Iran. He spent 8 years on Manus Island before being transferred to Australia for emergency medical treatment (related to depression). He was in community detention for four years in Melbourne and Brisbane and when released, found his way to Adelaide where he lives in the community with no government support.

He lived on and off with two families and sometimes slept in his car or in the bush in the Mt Lofty Ranges. One of the families who had taken Ahmad in was associated with  Circle of Friends Australia (COFA), and with the assistance of COFA, paid rent and living expenses for Ahmad. COFA also paid for Ahmad to complete a Certificate 3 in Disability Support, and for the various checks and registration fees to be able to undertake this work.

Ahmad is now receiving causal work in the Disability sector, making an important contribution to the community. He is working his way towards financial independence.

COFA continues to assist him with expenses of daily living until he has sufficient work to be fully independent, and will maintain regular contact with Ahmad, to ensure that he has access to the medical services he needs and that he always has a roof over his head and food on his plate.

The future for Ahmad remains uncertain. He is not able to return to Iran, and he is not eligible for resettlement in the US program. However, he is hopeful that the Australian refugee policy will change to provide him protection in Australia. He finds the ongoing uncertainty affects his mental health. After more than ten years away from home, he misses his mum terribly.

Written by Alexander Reilly,   Rapid Response for Refugees Circle (110)