Abang Othow is a survivor.
She was born in Sudan and fled civil war to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya before arriving in Australia aged 17.
Separated from family and with few belongings, Ms Othow was spotted by a Sydney talent scout who suggested she become a model.
"I had the opportunity to travel to work internationally, travel the world and support myself," she told AAP.
"This made me feel empowered."
Deprived of schooling as a child, Ms Othow enrolled in TAFE and then university, completing a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Teaching.
The 40-year-old has spent the past 10 years teaching students in multicultural western Sydney.
"I am very passionate about education and continue to promote educational access," she said.
"I would like to help young people discover their passion through the transformative power of education."
Ms Othow spent years searching for family she was separated from and was eventually reunited with 10 relatives including her mother.
"It was a long awaited, tearful, joyful reunion."
She does not want people to identify her as a victim or feel sorry for her trauma.
Instead, she wants to channel her experience into creating social change.
"We can celebrate the power of resilience, we can embrace the potential of refugees and together we can build a more compassionate and inclusive world."
Ms Othow has been selected as an ambassador for Refugee Week, which runs from June 18 to 24.
So too has Syrian refugee Simon Shahin, who fled with his family to Australia in 2015.
He has since become a University of Technology Sydney alumnus, landed a job in the energy sector and worked with young people and refugees at home and abroad.
"I am forever grateful for being granted this priceless chance of resettling in Australia and for that I continue to give back," he said.
Adama Kamara from the Refugee Council of Australia said the week was a chance to reflect and celebrate.
"It's an opportunity for everyone to do something positive for refugees, people seeking asylum and displaced people," she said.
Australian Associated Press