“Being a multicultural country is something to be proud of, not something to make fun of.”

When Ajaz Hussain arrived in Australia six years ago, he never thought he would become the person he is today. Not because a lawyer made a typing mistake on his visa and changed his legal name to Ejaz, but because the road he has taken from his native country Afghanistan has not been an easy one.

Although Afghan by birth like his parents, Ajaz grew up in Pakistan. It was at the age of 13 that he arrived with his family as a refugee in Melbourne.

“I think my family and I were very lucky to arrive in a multicultural city like Melbourne, where people are very open to accepting your culture, religion and your traditions. However, there are still people who are very resistant”.

When he talks about his process of settling he remembers high school as the hardest time.

“When I started high school I had no friends because my English was not good, my accent was a problem. When I talked in class there were kids that used to laugh and make fun of me, and as a kid that makes you feel awful when you are just thirteen.”

Today, at the age of 19, Ajaz is finishing his studies in real estate and working to cover his expenses. For the past three years, he has been volunteering with organisations, including CMY, on projects that help young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to make Australia their home.

“There are still people that treat you like you are not part of [this community] and that has to start changing, from school. I think children should grow up in an environment where being a multicultural country is something to be proud of and not something to make fun of.”

“[This is] one of the reasons I volunteer. Every time I am involved in those projects I enjoy it a lot. I feel comfortable. The environment and the people within the organisations are very different. They all are open and nice regardless of your skin colour, religion or cultural background. So I plan to continue being involved for a long time.”

Aside from this volunteer work, Ajaz pursues one of his passions as a videographer. He decided to set up his own business, which he has built from the ground up using his own resources and hard work. He also applies this knowledge and experience as a youth volunteer for the Youth Leadership Program at CMY.

As Ajaz continues doing his part to help more young people to grow up in an environment of inclusion and diversity, he plans to take the next step in his career as an entrepreneur. He wants to combine all his experience – applying his skills as a videographer to his current studies in real estate.

“Now video and image are [becoming] more relevant for businesses and I think that real estate is no different. So I am really looking forward to it”.