26 October 2021
Sumayya gives back through her new children’s book
Sumayya is an Afghan young woman who arrived in Australia five years ago on an Humanitarian Visa. When she first arrived she was lucky to meet Jasmine Kalus, a case worker – currently a Senior Multicultural Youth Worker at CMY – who helped her settle into her new life in Australia. Sumayya was later connected to CMY through the Reconnect program which offers support for multicultural young people who are new in Australia and who may be at risk of homelessness.
“Jasmine helped me with whatever I needed. For example, she helped me with my study, fixing my resume and sometimes she would even help me at the doctors. I’m really thankful for her.”
With Jasmine’s help, Sumayya was able to successfully secure a job at a factory and obtain her drivers license. Jasmine also supported Sumayya to address her poor mental health at the time. “When I was feeling depressed, Jasmine talked to me and made me a plan, like how I would manage my day and week. And that helped me a lot,’ Sumayya said.
Sumayya is currently pursuing a Business Degree at Monash University but it’s her passion for writing that has kept her inspired during the COVID-19 lockdowns. “When I was young in Afghanistan, I loved to write and I was very interested in my language. But when I came here, I didn’t know how to start or where to go.”
When Sumayya stopped working due to the pandemic, she picked up creative writing again. Then, by the end of the year she had written her first book! Keen to surprise her parents, she kept her efforts a secret until her book – “Princess Picks Out a Fork” – was officially published.
“Australia helped me a lot; [Australia] brought me here and did so much for me that my country didn’t do for me, so this is my way of doing something kind back,” Sumayya said.
“Princess Picks Out a Fork” is a children’s story about how kids can learn to make their own decisions that they believe are best for them.
When asked from where her inspiration came, Sumayya said she often thinks about the children in Afghanistan. “A lot of them are suffering at age 7 or 8. They don’t play games, or study, or know how to read books, and have very little knowledge. They have the right to study and know everything, but they really work hard from a young age. I just wanted to remember those kids in Afghanistan and try to do something good for kids here and support them.”
Sumayya is already planning her next book and we can’t wait to read more of her incredible work!
A message from Sumayya to CMY and our network;
“If you know anyone who loves to read books to their kids or daughters, you can absolutely share it with them and support me. I hope kids enjoy reading my book because they are our future. It’s about the decisions they make, and it doesn’t matter how old they are, they can make their own decisions.”
You can purchase a hardcopy of “Princess Picks Out a Fork” from major book stores, or access it online here: https://www.xlibris.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/821736-princess-picks-out-a-fork