I was born in Sri Lanka. In 2011 I and my mum decided to go to Australia on a boat because of the war and we didn’t feel safe living in our own country. We left behind my grandma and my siblings.

We stayed in the boat for 68 days and for 15 of those days we didn’t have any food except salt water. In our boat there were about 25 people. The boat probably looked like a fishing boat, although we don’t even know what our boat looked like because we went to it at night.

Also we lost track of where we were going but somehow our boat got accidentally near a dangerous area where tsunamis could come. We had seen red flags but we didn’t know exactly what they were for.

The boat capsized and after that everyone was trying go to the edge of the sea. Five people died on the way when they were trying to come near to the edge of the sea. For me it was also hard to survive but luckily I survived by holding one of the brother’s hoody cap.

After that the Indonesian Navy came and took us with them to a place called Silajab and then to Tanjung Pinang. We stayed there for 4 months and moved to Meadan and stayed there for one year. After that we got interviewed by New Zealand immigration (Refugee Quota). Then in 2014 April we came to New Zealand.

How to help

If you want to learn more about former refugees living in New Zealand, why not sign up to become a Red Cross refugee support volunteer. Our volunteers are a key part of our refugee resettlement programme, learn more here.