Stories from Manus

I believe that you never stop learning - the day you stop learning is the day you die.

Meet Imran, 22,

Imprisoned on Manus 

Island Detention Camp

Share This Story

I was close to my mother. My mother is not educated, but she taught me a lot of things about life that I still carry with me. She taught me that it's important to respect people.  When I came to Manus, I met people from many different places. They looked different, they spoke differently and they had different ways. But I accept them.  We are all people - we are really not that different at all.

That's what my mother taught me. Whenever my mother saw that I was troubled by some conflict, she would come and advise me. She would always tell me I needed to accept people for who they were.

I didn't really know what she meant but now I understand. We judge people without knowing each other.  By not being so quick to judge, it is easier to develop relationships with people. Instead of judging and fearing difference, we need to accept it.

I left my country because people kept threatening me.  One night, they came to our house looking for me - I ran and hid. Within a few days, I had to leave the country.

I was detained in Malaysia, then in Indonesia where the United Nations recognised me as a refugee. I'm only 22 and have already been detained in three countries.

I learned English by writing a page of my life story every single day. Each day I would take that page to a teacher in the camp to correct my mistakes. I have been here for three years, and my story is now over 1100 pages long.

I learned English by writing a page of my life story every single day. Each day I would take that page to a teacher in the camp to correct my mistakes. I have been here for three years, and my story is now over 1100 pages long.

I believe that you never stop learning - the day you stop learning is the day you die.  Some of my teachers say I would be a good journalist. Others say I would be a good lawyer. Me, I want to study medicine. I think that's the best way to help people.

I spend all my time in detention learning English.  I decided that I have two things: I have my mind, and I have time - so I've tried to use them both.

I don't need much. I just need safety. That's all I'm looking for. I want to be able to walk down the street and feel safe. Even though they call this is an 'open centre,' I have only left the detention centre twice. Once to meet my lawyer, and once to do this interview.

I've seen many terrible things in my life, but I have experienced many good things too. I have been tortured, and I have been loved.

Return home

Photo by: Mathew Abbott