Habeeb was born in Northern Iraq the eldest of five siblings. His father was a maths teacher and his mother a surveyor at the local council. They would tell him stories about how wonderful their lives at university were.
‘I always had that bright image in my mind. For me, because of war, it was a very different experience,’ he says.
Habeeb studied at the University of Mosul from 2002 to 2006, during the height of the Iraq war. He remembers bullets crashing through windows and hitting the blackboard during a lecture.
One day, a car bomb exploded close to campus killing and injuring a number of students.
‘Once I have seen something like that, I cannot unsee it,’ Habeeb says. ‘All mobile network services were shut down for security reasons. When I was able to get back home that day, there was my mother at the front of the house crying. She had been waiting for news of me all that time. ‘She begged me not to go back to university.’
Despite the dangers, Habeeb would complete his degree and begin a career in telecoms. By 2013 Iraq had become too dangerous. He and his family made the difficult decision to leave their home.
Arriving in Australia in 2016 as a refugee Habeeb, who by this point had over 10 years’ experience as a telecom engineer, couldn’t land a job interview. He was eventually referred to CareerSeekers who helped him secure an internship at Ericsson. The internship eventually led to full time position as a network engineer.
‘Without this internship I might not be working, or I might have settled for a job well below my capabilities,’ he says.
‘I feel happy again. Finally my life aligned with my goals. I live safely with my family, and I’m back working in the field in which I’m qualified and passionate.’