Sabira Nouri calls Hamilton home but has overcome significant hardship to make it here.
A refugee from Afghanistan, she and her family originally fled to Iran, where she was not allowed to attend school.
Arriving in Hamilton in 2005, she suddenly found herself in a classroom with many challenges.
“I had no clue what the teacher was teaching in class and I’d go home with so much homework and study that I didn’t know what they were to begin with,” she says. “This also made it very difficult to make friends and to be able to feel like a normal kid in school - not the new girl who couldn’t speak English.”
However, through her dedication and hard work, she quickly found her place in Hamilton and ensured she made the most of her opportunities.
The hard work paid off, and in 2014 she completed her Bachelor of Nursing at Wintec and is the first female in her family to complete tertiary study.
She now works as a nurse in the Emergency Department at Waikato Hospital, one of the biggest and busiest hospitals in New Zealand.
“Being able to work in the Emergency Department is like a dream come true! At the end of the day I come home knowing I’ve made a positive difference in someone’s life. There is nothing more rewarding than that.”
Nouri has also been active in volunteer roles. She has worked with the Red Cross and supported other refugees arriving from Afghanistan. She is an interpreter, and was part of a refugee youth group from Hamilton that went to Christchurch following the 2011 earthquake to provide assistance for refugee families effected. She feels well placed to help refugees see there is hope.
“The best person to say that can only be someone who has been through the same journey. That’s what made me to volunteer for Refugee Services and then work for them which is now part of Red Cross.”
Nouri’s advice to other young people, especially those with a refugee background is to be determined.
“Never give up. Achieving what you want in life is never easy but if work hard and give 100 per cent you will get there one day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and make the most of every opportunity out there to help you get what you want in life. You have to believe in yourself in order for others to believe in you.”