He plays a piano at the local cafe. A sixteen year old boy who came to this country from Aleppo only a few months ago.
The owner of the cafe had an abandoned piano waiting to be played. He was a boy who once played before hundreds, but had not been able to play for many years. It was a local pastor that connected them.
M and his family had come to the pastor’s church looking for solace and support. When the pastor spotted M’s talent, he introduced him to the local cafe owner.
“I would have to do my exams under shelling. I would be doing the test while ducking for cover… Many people we knew were killed,” M tells the local TV station that heard of his story.
When the days were long and terrifying, when he heard of friends or people he knew who died, M would play the piano and it would help him forget.
“With the piano I could forget everything.”
When his piano was destroyed in the shelling, M had to cope with the daily horrors on his own. Only now, half a world away, in this little cafe, can he find some peace through his music once more.
The Department of Immigration saw the local news story and invited him to play at an event, on World Refugee Day, recognising the contribution of refugees in this country.
Today is that day. A day to remember those who have fled persecution and war around the world. Today M plays for the Prime Minister of Australia.
In the end the PM couldn’t make it. But M played and spoke of his dreams in his new home.