At age 16 Carina Hoang escaped war–torn Vietnam on a wooden boat with her two younger siblings and 370 other people. She survived harrowing conditions in a refugee camp in Indonesia before being given the opportunity to go to the USA. Since then she has earned a Bachelor of Chemistry, Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Gender and Cultural Studies, and Masters in Business Administration and has worked in the semi-conductor, biotechnology and healthcare industries. After settling in Perth five years ago she has made a pledge to raise awareness of ‘boat people’ and their stories and assists families from different parts of the world to search for graves of their loved ones in former Indonesian refugee camps. Carina’s book, Boat People: Personal Stories from the Vietnamese Exodus 1975–1996, received a silver medal in the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards (USA) and she was inducted into WA’s inaugural women’s Hall of Fame in 2011. In June 2012, she was appointed Special Representative to the UN Refugee Agency’s Australian charity.
Being a refugee is not a choice
Refugees are often marginalised, their humanity ignored as their stories go untold. In this remarkable and emotional talk, however, author and former refugee Carina Hoang discusses her experience as a "boat person". It's a powerful account that is impossible to ignore.