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Rez was born in a refugee camp in Pakistan after her family was forced to flee their home in Iraq. She spent six years in the camp before her family was resettled in New Zealand.
Life in a refugee camp was unpredictable. Her family never knew if they would have access to basic fundamental rights such as food, shelter and water, let alone education, she says.
“I can’t even imagine what my life would be like now if I had not been taken as a refugee to New Zealand, I would have been just another statistic.”
Being accepted into New Zealand enabled her to get an education. She now plans to put it to use and help those growing up as refugees by becoming an international human rights lawyer.
Rez recently had the chance to share her experiences with other former refugees after being chosen to represent New Zealand Red Cross at the Global Refugee Youth Consultations in Geneva.
The consultations bring together young people from refugee backgrounds to discuss the challenges they face, their visions for the future and the support they need.
Rez says it was inspiring and empowering to meet people at the consultations who had suffered difficulties but were now using their skills to help ease the suffering of others.
“It sounds cliché, but it really was life changing. We all had very different life experiences and perspectives but what we all had in common was the passion and commitment to change the lives of refugees for the better and to be the voice of the voiceless.”
Now back in Auckland, Rez is completing her dissertation before launching her career as a lawyer.