From Boat People to School Builders

From Boat People to School Builders

Stop The Boats! Stop The Boats!

This was the three word slogan that some in Australia used to demonise and dehumanise people fleeing war, persecution and ethnic cleansing. We the public were being asked to believe that the savages coming on boats would come and ruin our society. But contrary to populist scaremongering – this is a story of success and amazing growth in the face of extreme adversity.

My wife and I started out on a mission to open a small school about three years ago. I mean how hard could it be right? Get a space, find the children, hire the teachers … and walla, we have a school! Unfortunately it isn’t so easy – especially when there’s a government bureaucracy to navigate. 

One of the major obstacles the municipal Council put in our path is a requirement to build a car park at the school site. We had no construction know-how and no real budget to hire a construction company to manage the job. I remember speaking to a tradie friend of mine when he came to see the school site. He said ‘bro, civil projects are very expensive …’ As if to say, do you really think you’ll be able to pull this off?

Ok, so what were we to do? They weren’t going to let us teach our children unless we built the car park. Truth be known, I was a little helpless. But you see, if Allah (God) wills goodness, Allah is the provider and he can provide from where you least expect it. 

A group of us gathered at the school to celebrate getting the keys, when someone mentioned, I know a concreter – I’m sure he could do the job. Little did I know that this concreter was someone who came to Australia on a boat as a Rohingian refugee less than a decade ago. This really blew my mind, because it feels like yesterday when we were collecting food rations to deliver to our newly arrived brothers and sisters who were doing it tough at the time.

But today, he was to be our saviour.

Abdul the concreter came to see us at the school to give us a quote. He could hardly speak a word of English. And at that point I was thinking, Council want to us build this car park to very specific parameters set out in drawings that took us months to get them to approve – I hope Abdul can pull it off!

Pull it off he did.

The car Park was built. Council inspections were passed. And for that we say a big ALHUMDULLILAH!

Is it not amazing how Allah works? Our Rohingian brothers and sisters were persecuted to the point where they lost everything. Yet today, they stand with their heads held high as school builders, as positive contributors to our society down under, as problem solvers  and as a people who exhibit an entrepreneurial flare which I wish more of us had. In them are qualities that our children would do well to acquire. Resilience, perseverance, creativity and patience.

May Allah bless them and allow them to grow from strength to strength. Ameen.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Alhumdulillah, Allah swt Bless you all – Ameen

  2. Alhamdulillah great to see community coming together for greater cause.

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