After coming to Australia as a refugee herself, Deruka Dekuek is now using priceless skills gained through her VU degree to help other newcomers settle in the Ballarat region.
“I grew up in South Sudan, living in the bush with my four sisters and mother, so I never had the opportunity to attend school. I started kindergarten as a 15 year-old while living in Kenya, but paused my education after coming to Australia as a refugee in 2004.
After having my four children, I decided to continue my education. I chose VU as it was welcoming and accommodating to a mature-age student. The teachers were informed in terms of diversity and inclusiveness and supported refugee students by understanding that English was not our first language. I was also lucky to access help with my English through peer-to-peer tutoring sessions while I studied.
During my course I completed a work placement with Wyndham City Council. The value of this workplace training was enormous. I was exposed to practical learning and built my networking circle within the industry.
VU laid the foundations for my current success, and shaped me to be who I am today. Without the chances I was offered by the University, I wouldn’t be currently working as a migration and settlement coordinator for Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council, offering support to new refugees and migrants. Advocating for a client’s needs is one of my biggest achievements.”
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