December 08, 2015 01:15 PM

Too often our discussions surrounding refugees don’t mention the lived experiences of those who left their homelands and scarified everything to reach safety.

To help change that, a new Australian photo campaign called “I Came by Boat” shares the inspiring stories and faces of refugees who arrived at their new homes, yes, by boat. The poster campaign is currently on Chuffed, a fundraising site, to raise $55,000, or “enough money for the posters to be rolled out nationally through bus, tram and train stations.”

One woman featured is Fern White, a dentist and teacher from Vietnam who now practices in Port Melbourne.

“Helping patients in a way that’s authentic to what I believe in, living by the values of integrity, love, freedom and health, that’s what’s important to me,” her poster reads.

Another refugee featured in the campaign, Najeeba Wazefodost, came from Afghanistan, and is studying to become an international lawyer.

“I will always thank Australia for giving me the opportunity to be educated safe and secure,” she says on her poster. “I want to contribute to Australia and make it proud of me.”

Blanka Dudas, a former Yugoslavian refugee, coordinated the campaign, telling Mashable that she tried to incorporate as vast a range of identities as possible, so as to showcase the diversity of the refugee experience. “We’re trying to get a wide variety of professions and background to feature in the campaign,” Dudas said. “This campaign is just about trying to bring them closer to us, to show that they are just like us, and there’s nothing to be fearful about, because they want the same things as us: Peace, and a good life, and they can make our lives better by being here.” So far the fundraising effort has raised $13,000; the goal is to hit the $55,000 mark by March 2016.

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