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Sylva raising the bar to become to become human rights lawyer

TAFE NSW Granville

Sylva raising the bar to become to become human rights lawyer

Sylva Hassan may only be 21 years old but she has already endured more hardships than most people would in their lifetime. An arranged marriage at 14 years old and having lived through domestic violence and depression, led to Sylva fleeing to Australia from her native Lebanon as a refugee and a better life.

Sylva had dreams of becoming a human rights lawyer but having not completed high school; she knew that she needed to gain a qualification that would forge a pathway to university. Sylva enrolled in the Certificate III Business Administration at TAFE NSW Granville, which would give her the skills so she could gain employment and start her journey.

“I moved to Australia in 2013 and arrived in the country not being to speak English. I could speak Arabic and French but I needed to learn how to pronounce words. I supported myself by doing Arabic tutoring and waitressing,” said Sylva Hassan.

“I found out about TAFE NSW Granville and went to find out about courses I could do that would help me get into university to study human rights law. I decided to study business administration as I thought it would give me skills that would enable to find steady work so I could support myself while studying.”

Not one to shy away from her dream and doing everything she can to make it a reality, Sylva also completed the Certificate III Pathology Collection full-time, while working part-time and studying the Certificate IV Business Administration. Sylva is now studying the Certificate IV Legal Service with the hope to progress to university.

Sylva has escaped two marriages where she was a victim of domestic violence, lived the trauma of a miscarriage and tried to take her own life, yet despite all the distress she has experienced, her ultimate goal is to become a human rights lawyer so she can help as many people as possible.

Studying at TAFE NSW Granville is not only helping Sylva improve her English, but it also gives her an insight into other cultures as eventually, she would like to be able to work anywhere in the world.

“There are a lot of different cultures in my class - Afghani, Persian, Chinese and Indian, and we all don’t have strong English but we talk and learn about each other’s culture and it helps us get better at improving our English. I like learning about how they think, interact and their way of life.”

“My teachers are very supportive and understanding. They take the time to explain things to me and provide one on one mentoring.”

To find out more about business administration or pathology at TAFE NSW visit or phone 131 601

Media contact: Teresa Lane, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner 9796 5476, mobile 0412 773 887