SMILING sisters Samira and Mohadeseh Heidari joined plenty of other Tasmanian students marking their first day back at school for term 3.
But for the Riverside girls, aged 10 and eight respectively, yesterday was their first in an Australian school since arriving in the nation about two months ago.
It was a rocky start for the Afghan-born Heidaris when they suffered a devastating house fire early this month, but the family of 13 have since found a new home and started to settle into Australian life.
The community rallied to help the family and Riverside Primary School principal Jane Bovill said plenty of donations had been received.
Mrs Bovill said the Farsi-speaking pupils told a translator they felt ``safe and comfortable'' in their new school.
``They've got buddies and have been quite the celebrities amongst our children, who have been very inclusive and supportive of them,'' Mrs Bovill said.
``It's a great opportunity for people in our community to become aware of and support refugees.''
Samira and Mohadeseh had previously attended some school where they studied Farsi, Arabic, maths and science in segregated classes.
Other members of the Heidari family started high school and further education yesterday, while the two youngest members of the family will soon start pre-kinder.