A PIONERRING surgeon who came to Australia as a refugee recently met with MercyCare staff working at the forefront of supporting asylum seekers.
Munjed Al Muderis visited MercyCare’s Cannington office on September 22 where he shared personal stories with staff – many themselves former refugees and asylum seekers – who are now helping new arrivals through the organisation’s Status Resolution Support Service.
Hours later Munjed was the keynote speaker at the 2016 MercyCare Oration at the Hyatt Regency, where he spoke about his life as a refugee-turned-orthopaedic surgeon, author and human rights activist.
As a first-year resident doctor in Iraq, Munjed was forced to flee his homeland after he rejected Saddam Hussein’s brutal orders to amputate the ears of Iraqi army deserters.
Within a week he was on a boat to Australia, when he was intercepted and placed at Curtin Immigration Detention Centre in the Kimberley for 10 months.
He was given a number and lived in solitary confinement.
When he was granted a visa, driven by a mission to change the lives of amputees, Munjed continued his career in medicine to become a world leader in osseointegration surgery – a ground-breaking technique that has enabled amputees to walk again.
MercyCare case worker Shoukat Ali Lali came to Australia 18 years ago as an asylum seeker escaping the Taliban in Afghanistan, and said meeting Munjed and exchanging personal stories had been inspiring.
“Munjed is an inspiration; he is a symbol of positivity and success. When you talk to him, you hear all positive things,” he said.
“I was really inspired by his work, by his vision and his opinions.
“He changes the minds of people – that’s very positive and I’m really happy and excited to have met him today.”