Keak Joak’s parents fled the war in South Sudan in the 1990s and resettled in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, where Keak was born.
He was separated from his parents for 14 years and eventually reunited with his mother when he joined her in Australia in 2018.
What do you love most about living in Geelong?
Geelong is such a beautiful place. I love being here. The people are amazing, friendly and very supportive. I’ve only lived here for 4 years but I feel like I’ve lived here my whole life.
What does healing mean to you?
For some people who go through hardship, they may recover quickly like a miracle. But for others, especially those who have experienced traumatic things in life, healing is an ongoing process. Some bad experiences stay with you for life, and healing may mean coming to terms with how to live with them.
How can art and storytelling help with healing?
We learn so much from hearing people’s life stories and that can be powerful. You may think that your story doesn’t mean anything to other people, but someone might hear it, relate to it and feel less alone.
What are you most looking forward to in the future?
I want to pursue my dreams and passion for theatre acting as I love telling my stories through theatre. So I want to keep improving to be even better for the future.
How can we better support people from refugee backgrounds?
I feel like there’s room to take in more refugees and give them a second chance at life. When I lived in a refugee camp, life was hell. To be able to come and live here, I feel like I was given a chance to start all over again.