GROWING up in the desolate hills of Afghanistan Mosa Gherjestani dreamed of one day flying an aeroplane.
The freedom of flight attracted him, the freedom his Hazara people did not possess under the oppression of the Taliban.
When he arrived as a refugee in Merrylands in the 1990s Mr Gherjestani grabbed his newfound freedom with both hands.
Now, 13 years on he lives in a comfortable home, hosts his own radio show, has a degree in business and holds a pilot’s licence.
“For hundreds of years the Hazara people have been taught they couldn’t achieve,” he said. “When I was young everyone was against me, they said ‘how could you be a pilot?’.”
Mr Gherjestani helped set up the Hazara Council of Australia to teach his community to reach beyond the limits their former home placed on them.
“In central Asia they said we were nothing, but anything is possible in Australia,” he said. “It’s all about education.”
The community leader said many older Hazaras struggled to assimilate into the Australian way of life while many of their children had forgotten their Hazara heritage.
“The government helps Hazaras with material needs but there is no one to help psychological needs,” he said.
“This organisation is designed to teach the Hazara community about Australia’s systems, values and culture and, at the same time, keep the Hazara history alive.”