Mother and daughter were separated when fleeing war torn Congo in 1997 and now, 20 years on, with the help of the Sanctuary Foundation Australia the process to be reunited is underway.
Fareeda and her three children are in Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya, a camp known for overcrowding with more than 200,000 refugees.
The founder of Sanctuary, Peter Hallam OAM is hoping the Australian Government's new Community Support Program (CSP) will bring Fareeda to Australia.
"It's not an easy process, it requires $60,000 by the Department of Immigration, a lot of documentation and we only have a small window to make this happen," he said.
Mr Hallam said that if the July deadline is missed the reunification will be delayed by another year.
"When I first found out that Fareeda was in the camp I was so surprised," Ms Mawazo said.
"It's been very hard to be here in Coffs Harbour and for her to be there. We miss her. My family, we love each other and when we miss someone it's like a big hole. It's like an ocean."
Since arriving in Coffs Harbour Elizabeth's children have been excelling. One is a successful model and was named Miss Victoria 2014, another dreams of being a doctor, while a third daughter is on the way to being an elite soccer player.
"My life has changed very much, my children especially," she said.
"Every year they get better and further. They are the best students at school, and they are talented.
"I think all the time their future is becoming better and better. Australia has been full of opportunity I think, more than full. I feel in my heart there is nothing left except my daughter Fareeda," Ms Mawazo said.
Sanctuary Australia Foundation was founded in 1988 by husband and wife team Sue and Peter Hallam OAM.
They assist refugees who are in desperate situations overseas to navigate the legal immigration process.
Over the past eighteen years they have helped thousands of families from many war-torn nations, including Chile, El Salvador, Vietnam, Iraq, Burma, Bosnia, and South Sudan.
On arrival, they are assisted with accommodation, furniture, food, clothing and are generally welcomed into the community.
"Peter was my angel to come to Australia," Ms Mawazo said.
"I had spent nine years in the refugee camp and it was so hard. It was no life."
In this year's Federal Budget, the Government announced they would increase the Refugee and Humanitarian Program to expand the CSP from 500 places to 1000.
Jan 20, 2018Emmanuel Macron will press Theresa May to take in more unaccompanied child refugees and pay more towards policing the port of Calais in a meeting between the two leaders on Thursday. The French president will on Tuesday visit the refugee camps in Calais ahead of the summit to survey the camp where his government estimates 400 people are living in […]
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