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In Their Words features portraits of some of the people who take part in The Yoga Impact Charity's Trauma Informed Yoga Programs for refugees in Sydney accompanied by a snapshot of their journey in their words. 

By Kelu MacDonald 







I have a very long and sad           story. I came by boat to Australia with my three kids and arrived in Sydney. I love education and I am studying English at TAFE. One of my sons is a lawyer, the other son is studying a Master of Bioengineering at UNSW and my daughter is studying Commerce at US. My life in Australia is very different from Iraq. I am happy now - more peaceful and calm. I enjoy coming to Yoga for deeper relaxation. My daughter says not to share that I came here by boat, but it's my story and I'm proud





Intesar from Iraq, now living and studying in Sydney 



More than 1 million people from Xinjiang are unlawfully detained in re-education camps. I don't know the whereabouts of my mum, younger brother, younger sister or father (who has health issues including diabetes). I can't try and call them for fear it will get them in trouble. I can never feel safe and feel like we are being monitored. I've heard a lot of horrific things about the camps but it's like we are invisible to the world. Before it was other people's stories, but now it's my life. It's very hard to take. To cope I seek counselling, practice Yoga, write poetry and I try to help others. You feel very alone when you experience these things, it helps me to feel like I'm not alone. I don't have to be destroyed by this. I'm teaching kids in the community three days a week - it's called Genius kids. I teach English, Maths and Coding. I'm so proud we have 2 girls and 3 boys. They give me a lot of good energy.



Fatima is a PhD Candidate in Geophysics and Poet from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region now living in Sydney 





For a long time I felt like I didn't have choices or deserve good things. Through Yoga and Prayer I have connected to a part of myself that is positive, strong and powerful. Connecting to this part of myself shows me that I'm free to make good choices for myself and my children. I know that I deserve the best.



Iefad from Iraq, now living in Sydney   





You don't know how to relax deeply if you haven't tasted it. After I tasted it though Yoga, I realised this is something I have to try again



Iefad from Iraq, now living in Sydney   


Kelu MacDonald


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