The young couple would like to be known as Salim (22) and Rehana (19)
Background story – why were Salim and Rehana homeless?
Salim and Rehana both came to Australia as refugees after growing up in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Salim and Rehana spoke about how Australia brought opportunities for them as they were not allowed to attend school in Bangladesh. They both learned how to write for the first time in Australia.
Rehana became homeless after she did not follow through with an arranged marriage with a man in her cultural community. Rehana met Salim at high school and wanted to have a love marriage, not an arranged marriage. Her family did not want this so they kicked her out. She lived between friends and Salim’s family but she was at risk of running out of places to live altogether.
Salim and Rehana lived with NWYAS for a year and moved out into their own private rental.
What was life like when you were homeless?
We didn’t do anything for ourselves – we didn’t know how to run a house, pay bills or how to fill out forms. We were moving around between houses. It was horrible because I wanted to be with my family. Family love is the most important and I was missing out on this. It was really stressful trying to do school while I had nowhere to live.
What did you learn in NWYAS or what changed for you while you were in NWYAS?
I changed things one by one – I learned how to budget, how to get a job and I got money when I started working.
I learned to be independent – I got more responsibility.
My mum said that I learned how to be smart.
I learned to save for goals – I saved money so that I could move out, buy furniture and pay for bond and move into a private rental for the first time. I learned to save for a car.
What is life like now?
I am independent and can look after a house. I am proud – I have my own rental.
We were so lucky to have NWYAS to help us – we learned so much!!
We are married and are both working in family day care and we just found out we are going to have our first child later this year. We don’t need any government money because we learned how we can work ourselves to earn money.
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