Decoration Contact us

Basim’s book an extension of his NSF work

By Fiona West | February 15, 2023
Man talking with woman wearing headscarf

Navitas Skilled Futures Stakeholder Engagement Manager Basim Shamaon has written a book about his settlement journey, as part of his ongoing devotion to assist and inspire new Australians, and raise positive awareness of migrants and refugees in the wider community. 

Basim, who started his life in Western Sydney as a teenage refugee from war-torn Iraq, will launch his memoir, From Iraq to Australia: Jewels from My Journey, at a special event on Wednesday 22 February at Fairfield RSL, attended by Western Sydney mayors and councillors, representatives from refugee and migrant support groups and services, members of the CALD community, family and friends. 

The easy-to-read book, being distributed free, has been produced with the support of Navitas Skilled Futures (NSF) and Settlement Services International (SSI).

As part of his role at NSF, Basim connects refugee and migrant students with community, assisting job-seekers into training for employment, and helping ensure courses are relevant and delivered with positive outcomes. 

But Basim’s work extends well beyond his employment. Since arriving in his beloved Fairfield in 2005, at age 15, Basim has volunteered for more than 30 organisations, assisted new arrivals with interpreting, translation and form-filling, trained refugees to participate in, and run, fundraising projects, and collaborated with others to develop educational and assistance projects to help new Australians live their best lives. 

His 38-page book documents how volunteering helped him integrate into the community and provides tips and suggestions for others, as well as a chapter on “myths” and an appendix of essential migrant and refugee services. 

“Australia, like any other country, has its challenges when it comes to integrating new arrivals; and migrants to Australia may face many challenges,” Basim said.  

“These include learning a new language, finding work and a place to live, and adjusting to a new culture. 

“I faced those challenges too, and I struggled – a lot. But I found my place in this country, and my message to newly arrived migrants and refugees is that you can too.”

“It isn’t always easy – in fact it can be very tough and lonely. I have tried to provide some tips and useful resources in my book to hopefully help make that transition easier for people.”

 Navitas Skilled Futures General Manager, Jetinder Macfarlane, said NSF was proud to help Basim launch this “well-written, emotive and informative” resource. 

“This heart-warming book is a testament to Basim’s life-long commitment to helping others in the community that we serve at Navitas Skilled Futures,” Jetinder said. 

“I think Basim’s story will resonate with others and empower them in their own settlement journeys, but this book is also for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities for Australia’s refugees and migrants, or for those who have faced and overcome adversity in life.” 

SSI General Manager Newcomers, Settlement and Integration, Yamamah Agha, said Basim’s story demonstrates the resilience and strength found in refugee communities. 

“Being a ‘refugee’ is a transient period in someone’s life. These are individuals with multi-faceted identities, which Basim demonstrates, while also reminding us of everything Australia has to gain by welcoming refugees,” she said. “It is particularly heartening to see Basim’s work within the community. Community leaders like Basim play an important role in supporting refugees to build a sense of belonging and inclusion in their new homes.” 

The launch of From Iraq to Australia: Jewels from My Journey will feature speeches from the author and new migrants and refugees, multicultural entertainment, refreshments, and an opportunity to take home a free copy of Basim’s book.  

From Iraq to Australia: Jewels from My Journey is listed with the National Library of Australia in Canberra and is currently available at all Fairfield City Libraries branches, and the digital version can be accessed free online: From Iraq to Australia – Jewels from My Journey. (  

Share this article