60 seconds with Sarah Shoukor

Sarah Shoukor

Mental Health Support Worker and Hogwarts School Graduate

If you had a magic wand, what would you use it for?
If I had a magic wand and was able to attend Hogwarts (still waiting for my acceptance letter) I would build a Hogwarts in every country for children to be accepted for who they are and what they bring.

What is your best quality or attribute?
Loving me for who I am and always being honest with me, even if the truth hurts sometimes.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone new to Australia, what would it be?
Do not try and fit into a box. Embrace where you come from and what it has taught you, as well as what you will learn living in Australia.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a woman from an immigrant or refugee background?
I’m always questioning where I fit in. I feel torn between two cultures: am I Iraqi or Australian? What does it mean to belong to these cultures? It was particularly hard being in high school, starting new friendships and sometimes not being able to fit in because you feel that you won’t be accepted for who are.

What are you reading right now?
The Nawal El-Saadawi Reader.

If you could invite any woman, (dead or living) to dinner, who would it be and why?
Nawal El-Saadawi- she is an Egyptian feminist novelist, critic and human rights advocate. She wrote about physical and psychological hardships women in the Middle East faced. She challenged the “traditions”- particularly writing about sex and women.

Simply being in the same room as her would make me feel more empowered. I would also want to thank her for challenging traditions and for giving a women a voice.

Tell me about an amazing woman you know.
My mother, as she has taught me resilience and confidence. She sacrificed a lot to provide my sister and I with a comfortable and safe life. I wish I had enough time to explain how amazing she is. I think you will have to meet her to see for yourself, as words are not enough.

She was always brave and I learnt to be determined from her at a young age. She always made sure my sister and I were looked after, even when crossing the border with us being under the age of 7, and with my father in another country. She had to build a life for us in Lebanon without any support and I never heard her complain or saw her give up.

Name a book or a film that changed your life
The Harry Potter books changed my life. It was my safe place as a young person who was adjusting to a new life in a new country. They taught me to believe in my abilities, to never give up no matter how hard it gets and to be welcoming of different people.