Nyabana Riek left Nasir, southern Sudan, to escape civil war when she was only 9 years old. With her older sister Mary, she travelled to a refugee camp in Itang, Ethiopia in 1986. But after years in various camps, the sisters made a dangerous trek at night across the mountains between Ethiopia and Kenya. The 12-hour journey was steep, sharp rocks tore their shoes and soldiers patrolled both sides of the border. They managed to cross the border into Kenya and then spent 3 years in a Kenyan refugee camp.
Finally, in 1995, Nyabana reached Australia. When she arrived, Melbourne's Sudanese community was small; she was the first teenager from the Nuer language group and spoke little English. But things are different now - more family members have come to Melbourne, Nyabana completed a Bachelor of Business Management, and the Sudanese community and support networks are growing.