Growing Up and Going Home


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2006, 52 Minutes

Three teenage siblings, adopted by an extended Australian family as children, return to Ethiopia to reconnect with the family, friends and culture they left behind.

Alemayehu, Sisay and Eleni are three young Ethiopians who were adopted in the mid 1990s by an extended Australian family. At the time, part of that life-changing experience was recorded in an award-winning documentary Little Brother, Little Sister.

Ten years on, the two brothers (aged 19 and 16) and their 14-year-old sister are returning to their homeland - with their adoptive parents and siblings - to reconnect with the family, friends and culture they left behind. In Addis Ababa they are finally reunited with their elder sister Bizunesh and grandmother.

Through the family’s recollections, we discover the details of why and how the three children came to be in Australia. From the teenagers themselves, we find out how they feel now and who they have become. In particular, we hear from Alemayehu, who was a streetwise 11-year-old, already working to support his family, when he left Ethiopia. His transition to a new life has been fraught, but what will it be like for him back in the homeland he so desperately yearns for? And how will his experience compare to his younger brother Sisay’s, whose dream is to represent Australia on the sports field? Or to Eleni, who seems happily settled in her beachside life?

Exploring contemporary issues surrounding inter-racial adoption and immigration, this is a poignant story of identity and belonging, as the teenagers discover whether it is possible to find a place in two different worlds.

A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Iris Pictures, the New South Wales Film and Television Office and SBS Independent. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. New South Wales Film and Television Office.


Director/Writer: Belinda Mason

Year: 2006

Running Time: 52 Minutes

Classification: Exempt from classification

Curriculum Links: Civics & Citizenship; Community and Family Studies; Cultural Studies; English 'Australian Identity - Social Life and Customs'; Global Education; Human Rights; Immigration; International Studies; Refugee Studies; Social Justice; SOSE - 'Identity, Place and Culture'; HSIE; NSW PDHPE Stage 5, Strand 1 'Self and Relationships'; Loss and Grief Studies; International Child and Family Law.


I’ll Call Australia Home

SKU 200502800
Brand Film Australia

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