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Africans rising

From refugee to qualified commercial pilot

Paduol Ater’s inspirational story is one of determination, hard-work and hope. Ater fled Sudan to escape a massacre which claimed his whole family, arriving in Australia as a refugee



Paduol Ater’s inspirational story is unusually similar to that of Deng Thiak Adut, a South-Sudanese former child soldier and refugee who rose above adversity to become a defence lawyer, graduating from the Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Laws degree.

Like his countryman Ater has endured many challenges. Ater was “just 10 when he fled his village in Sudan to escape a massacre which claimed his parents and three of his four siblings. He spent 11 years in refugee camps before arriving in Australia and settling in Toowoomba,” CQ University Australia reported.

He had to clock long working hours to earn money for flying lessons and, with the help of a sponsor, Ater eventually qualified as a commercial pilot.

Photo: Paul Harris

Photo: Paul Harris

However, Ater’s dream is not quite fulfilled. “Despite applying for more than 300 pilots’ jobs since 2011, Paduol Ater, a teetotal Christian with no criminal background, has yet to be granted a single interview,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Though some might see this as a setback, Ater has been utilising his time to further his education and is “now studying CQUniversity’s Associate Degree in Aviation to add to his skills and employability in the industry” CQ University Australia said.


Ater’s says he has not lost determination, “I know that one day my dream will come true,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Source: CQ University Australia