Taken from the second verse of the Australian national anthem, this year’s Refugee Week theme, ‘With courage let us all combine’, celebrates the courage of refugees who have refused to deny their beliefs or identity in the face of persecution, fled their homeland and often endured terrifying and dangerous journeys only to face the cruelty of detention before working hard to make a new life for themselves and their families.
HarperCollinsPublishers is sharing the story of a young refugee’s incredible journey from heartbreak to home
Abdi’s world fell apart when he was only fifteen and Somalia’s vicious civil war hit Mogadishu. Unable to find his family and effectively an orphan, he fled with some sixty others,heading to Kenya. On the way, death squads hunted them and they daily faced violence, danger and starvation. After almost four months, they arrived in at refugee camps in Kenya – of the group he’d set out with, only five had survived.
All alone in the world and desperate to find his family, Abdi couldn’t stay in Kenya, so he turned around and undertook the dangerous journey back to Mogadishu. But the search was fruitless, and eventually Abdi made his way – alone, with no money in his pockets – to Romania, then to Germany, completely dependent on the kindess of strangers. He was just seventeen years old when he arrived in Melbourne. He had no English, no family or friends, no money, no home. Yet, against the odds, he not only survived, he thrived. Abdi went on to complete secondary education and later university. He became a youth worker, was acknowledged with the 2007 Victorian Refugee Recognition Award and was featured in the SBS second series of Go Back to Where You Came From.
Despite what he has gone through, Abdi is a most inspiring man, who is constantly thankful for his life and what he has. Everything he has endured and achieved is testament to his quiet strength and courage, his resilience and most of all, his warm-hearted, shining and enduring optimism.
His story is just an unexpected delight: a funny, heartwarming, inspiring and uplifting book about an extraordinarily plucky little refugee and his amazing journey, all the way from war-torn Somalia to Melbourne.
‘All that I had endured, all the poverty and dirt and blood and brutality, looking into the eyes of men who cared no more for me than they would for an animal, men who would have been happy to shoot bullets into my face – all of that, and here I am in the Australian Government Department of Immigration in Melbourne, Australia, and a skinny man who has probably never had to go a single day without food is calling me in such a respectful way ‘Mister Abdi Aden’. My smile as I walk up to the man with the papers in his hand is so big that it hurts my face. Mister Abdi Aden. I want to throw my arms around the man in the jumper with no sleeves and hug him.’ Abdi Aden
Shining the Story of a Lucky Man by Abdi Aden and Robert Hillman
Paperback ISBN 9780732299842 eBook 9781460703724