Adbullah Alikhil

Photo Abdullah Alikhil PortraitI am a communication and public relations professional, with extensive experience in community work, production and broadcast of radio programs, and protection, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement of refugees, returnees and asylum seekers. I have provided these services in Australia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, primarily through Pashto, Dari and English languages.

Here in Australia, I work as the Executive Producer of the Pashto Radio Program of the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). I play a key role in the delivery of Australian news in Pashto language so that I keep the Pashto speaking community up to date on developments in the country. It helps to enhance their knowledge and awareness of social, economic and political aspects of life in Australia, and thus helps them to integrate well into Australian society.

Before joining SBS, I worked for six years with the United Nations in Afghanistan. While working as a Senior Communication Assistant for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), I produced radio programs, which were broadcast on the national radio station, and produced radio packages for the UN Headquarters in New York.

While working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Afghanistan, I assisted the Spokesperson’s Office in gathering and analysing data, preparing briefs and press releases, and organizing press conferences. This was purely humanitarian work, with the purpose to inform stakeholders of issues relating to protection, repatriation and reintegration of refugees, IDPs and returnees, and to mobilise their support for beneficiaries.

Having lived a life of refugee myself and worked for refugees and asylum seekers for so many years, I know well what a refugee and an asylum seeker goes through in a new country with different socio-economic, political and cultural systems. I was a refugee myself in Pakistan for more than 10 years, where I lacked the social network and community support that I enjoyed back home in Afghanistan. Like millions of other refugees in that country, I really appreciated the support provided to refugees by humanitarian organisations, including the United Nations agencies, which helped me and my family to survive and remain hopeful. I became part of this humanitarian effort as well, helping refugees in my own way – teaching them English to help them find work and enable them to receive education.

For refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in Australia, settlement is not an easy process as most of them come from underdeveloped or developing countries, in many cases with different social, economic, political and cultural backgrounds, and most of them with no or poor English language skills. I know this well because I myself sought refuge in Australia in 2013. Everything was new for me in this country. I lacked social networks, which could educate me about life in Australia and help me to find a proper place to live in, work to earn a decent income, and engage in social and other activities necessary for physical and mental wellbeing. So, media organizations such as SBS and other settlement organisations play a significant role in settlement of new arrivals in Australia, contributing significantly to their health, social and economic wellbeing. I greatly appreciate their humanitarian efforts in this regard.