My country of origin is Iraq but I came to Australia from a refugee camp in Jordan. I am the first generation of my family to live in Australia. I have five children aged from 10 years to 25 years. I have no other family here in Australia apart from the children. My mother used to provide support for me, but she is still in Iraq. I feel isolated in Australia.
When I came to Australia by big hopes and dreams were to live in peace and freedom from oppression
I love dressmaking and embroidery. [Linda (a pseudonym) was wearing a beautifully embroidered gown that she had decorated.]
I am living separated from my husband but am still his carer taking him to hospital appointments, doing some cooking for him, as well as providing other care support.
As well as not having other family members as a support, Linda did not connect with members of her own ethnic community.
Throughout the discussion with Linda it became obvious just how isolated she was and the importance of the connections Ishar provided to other women. These women often better understood her isolation and some of the problems she faced in her new setting.
A key moment in Linda’s transformation was her referral to local Police for assistance. Here she was referred to a policewoman from a multicultural background who helped her.
Just taking that step is an indication of Linda’s strength and perseverance.
Linda’s contact with Ishar has opened a number of doors for her.
She has participated in the Carers’ Program and the Domestic Violence Program and is also a member of the Neighbourhood Mothers’ program, which offers social networking through sewing / and Information sessions. As indicated by Linda, “I particularly enjoy contact with the other women in these groups”.
Two major changes in Linda’s life since she came to Ishar included:
She summed this up emphatically indicating that women in her situation need to access organisations like Ishar. She was very appreciative of the support from Ishar and the staff who work there.
Linda’s story highlights the importance of the companionship of others in similar situations to herself and the learning that can take place.