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Looking for a promised land – the Hazaras of Dandenong

Hazara Asylum Seekers

May 15, 2014

Bestway boysDSC0449

Walk into the Bestway Supermarket on Dandenong’s Lonsdale Street and you’ll immediately see 20 litre cans of sunflower oil and 80 litre cooking pots stacked neatly near the entrance.

There are also posters advertising Quran classes, English lessons and home child care.

This simple social accoutrement gives you an oblique insight into Dandenong’s close-knit Afghan Hazara community.

Bestway’s co-owner Mohammad Reza says: “Australians come in and see the big pots and they laugh. But what they don’t realise is that if we have a get-together or a party at someone’s house – and we Hazara have lots of these functions –  there will be 60 or 70 people and they all have to be fed.”

Reza was one of the first Hazaras to settle in Dandenong in the late 1990s. He worked for three years in a slaughterhouse in Pakenham and then opened a small shop on Thomas Street…

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