'Refugees are no different to everyone else'

GRACE Williams is just like many other 17-year-olds but her early life is nothing like the average Launceston teenager.

The Launceston Church Grammar School year 11 student spent yesterday afternoon talking to Kings Meadows High School year 7 students about life as a refugee.

As part of Refugee Week, from June 15 to 21, Grace spoke about being born in Ghana after her parents fled Sierra Leone and arriving in Australia nine years ago under humanitarian protection visas.

Invited to speak by English as an Additional Language teacher Barb Jowett, Grace said: ``My aim today was to put a face to the issue of refugees.''

She said stories about asylum seekers in the media can de-humanise the situation and people forget each of them has their own dreams and hopes.

Grace told the students that, despite the fact she was a refugee in Ghana, she had childhood dreams to be a supermodel.

Although that dream has now changed and she's more interested in studying a law degree specialising in international human rights, people shouldn't think a refugee is any different from them.

``I'm just like any other person,'' she said.

Grace also spoke about returning to Sierra Leone two years ago and working in a refugee camp.

Ms Jowett said the school was growing in multiculturalism and she expected the students to have a greater understanding of the plight of refugees after Grace's visit.

Launceston Church Grammar student Grace Williams, 17, shared her experience of being a refugee. Picture: MARK JESSER

Launceston Church Grammar student Grace Williams, 17, shared her experience of being a refugee. Picture: MARK JESSER

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