Holla David doesn’t like labels, but she understands fear comes from lack of knowledge. She says if people don’t know your story they don’t feel connected or understand. So, for her, telling her own story and being a MYAN Youth Ambassador, is a way to feel connected.
“Hearing stories connects you and gives a human perspective. You can’t deny someone face-to-face. It’s harder to tell someone, to go back to where you come from, when you hear their dreams and hopes and realise they are human. They are more than just the name, ‘immigrant.”
Holla has wanted to be a lawyer since she can remember, and currently studies Law at the Australian Catholic University, as she wanted to mix it with theology to gain more perspective on the world.
When her family had to flee from the Civil War, they arrived in Australia with very little.
“When you move like we did, you have to start from the bottom and people don’t understand that you are intelligent and you are a human being and you have values, they just see you as an immigrant. Kids don’t really understand why you can’t speak, or that you speak a different language. And you start to see yourself like this. You can feel like you have no worth and can’t contribute. Everyone who arrives goes through this, so my struggle was the same as so many others.”
She initially became a MYAN Youth Ambassador as she was interested in the program they run about social justice and immigration and learning more about what was going on in Australia at the time. But additionally, she found she built her skills and learnt more about how to run an organisation and expand her horizons.
“MYAN is a good organisation for all young people, not just immigrants. Often as a young person you aren’t clear on what you want or know what is out there. And being here educates you, but also gives it a human touch.”
Recently, she has also launched a Skincare range for dark-skinned women. She says in Australia, there are not many products in the market that supports dark-skinned women to feel comfortable in their skin, and so she developed an empowerment range based on all-organic and natural Ugandan ingredients.
Holla says her family think it’s a good idea she is a Youth Ambassador. She often thinks about her grandfather in her homeland in Uganda, who taught her it is important to have a balance of science and soul. She says, while law can get you ahead, it is her work with MYAN that has helped her realise her wider purpose as more than just a lawyer, but as a human being.