A place to call Home

Although she was busy preparing for her resettlement in Canada, Zia, a graduate from our JRS digital marketing course, made time to chat about her journey as a refugee, her passion and her dreams. She has inspired Rachel, our youth volunteer who interviewed her, to dare to dream. We hope that she inspires you, too – to persevere and not to lose faith…

When we started our chat online, I found Zia to be rather quiet, with an air of seriousness about her. There was something special in the way she intoned her words — an eloquence that is way beyond her age. We soon warmed up to each other and her eyes lit up when she spoke of how she envisioned the future. It became clear that she carried within her enthusiasm and unbridled hope, the same qualities that are often observed in successful people.

Zia dreamed of enrolling in university, pursuing a career in Financial Accounting, speaking fluent English, starting and growing her business. These were lofty goals but unattainable given her refugee status. In spite of her struggles, she never gave up. Her perseverance paid off after seven long years of waiting. Zia was finally given the opportunity to kick start the new phase of her life when she was resettled at the end of 2022.

Photo shared by Zia of the beautiful place she now calls home.

When she first arrived in Indonesia in January 2016, she joined a refugee learning centre. Her passion for learning and teaching saw her pick up the English language quickly. She was able to take on more responsibilities at the learning centre, eventually rising through the ranks as a teacher to be the vice principal of the school. She promoted subjects like art, instilled discipline and facilitated cultural exchange. Zia thrived in her role, and recalled with relish how she enjoyed engaging with other refugees in the community. She never stopped working hard to improve her English and she stressed that she will not stop learning as there are so many nuances in the language that she still has to master.

Zia also felt that the certified digital marketing course under the JRS E3 Programme was a significant learning opportunity. Through this programme, she picked up vital digital marketing skill sets, such as Google Analytics, Canva, Photoshop — many of which were previously alien to her. Through the JRS Internship Programme, she was engaged as a social media design intern by Fieldseas, a Singaporean company. This internship gave her the opportunity to put her new skills to good use, creating publicity materials and executing tasks that were required for her mentor’s business. Zia declared that the confidence placed in her made her feel like she was living one of her dreams — of running and growing a business. More importantly, the allowance she received gave her the ability to be financially self-reliant.

Wilfred Leong, Zia’s mentor recalled, “When I first met Zia I was impressed by her can-do spirit. She was not only resilient, she was always hungry to learn more, to do even more. Highly motivated, always eager to upgrade herself. She is also very helpful and resourceful within her community. I’m so glad to have journeyed with her for the past few years as a mentor and a friend.”

Zia shared that she is immensely grateful for all the opportunities she has been given. She was quick to emphasise that there are plenty of experienced and creative people amongst the refugee community. What they lack is the opportunity to shine forth. With some training, and livelihood opportunities she believes that refugees are resourceful enough to be independent and want to contribute meaningfully to society. Just like her, many of her fellow refugees too, have big dreams and they also strive to pursue those very same dreams with tenacity and perseverance.

Although our chat was a brief one, I too felt inspired by her drive, and the ambitious mindset through which she takes on the world. It made me think that perhaps I could take a leaf or two out of her book! All of us at JRS wish Zia all the best as she begins an exciting new chapter of her life


Zia contacted us to say that she has settled well in Canada. She found a temporary job in a jewellery warehouse and worked there for about a month. Recently, she registered at a college to study Accounting and just started a recycling business from scratch too!