There must be a better life somewhere…
Originally born in Afghanistan, Shakeela, her mother, two brothers and sister moved to Pakistan at an early age, where she lived there for the next 16 years. Wanting to build a brighter future for her and her family, she contacted the United Nations Refugee Agency who assisted her with an application for a Humanitarian Visa. After 18 months of waiting she was granted the right to move to Australia.
Resettlement brings a new and unfamiliar life.
At the age of 19, Shakeela along with her family, made the move to Australia. On arrival to the country, she was met by a Case Worker from MDA in Brisbane and they were transported to Toowoomba. Although having learnt English for 6 months prior to her arriving in Australia, Shakeela found her new life very challenging.
Having no communication with people or extended family made her feel felt extremely isolated. Settlement meant she needed to adapt to new climate, new landscape, new language, new currency and new lifestyle.
Her Case Worker supported Shakeela and her family over the next 6 months with the basics for living in Australian. She attended English classes at TAFE where she completed her Certificate III in English. After completion Shakeela volunteered her skills at TAFE assisting other newly arrived migrants.
TRAMS provides practical and meaningful support.
After 6 months of living in Toowoomba, Shakeela was connected with CatholicCare through the TRAMS (Toowoomba Refugee and Migrant Service) program. During this time, TRAMS assisted her and her family with information to increase her resilience and promote positive settlement into the Toowoomba community.
Individual support was provided with everyday tasks such as shopping and public transport as well as engagement with community events and activities, based on her needs and interests.
While connected with CatholicCare, Shakeela also received one on one case work. During this time through a discussion a TRAMS worker discovered Shakeela and her 4 family members were sharing 1 blanket between them. They would sleep all together at night so they could share the blanket given to them to stay warm. CatholicCare staff aim to stay well connected with their clients and after discovering the situation, Shakeela and her family received a visit from TRAMS who supplied her with another 4 blankets for the family. Shakeela was overjoyed as Toowoomba is very cold in the winter and one blanket was never enough.
Shakeela continued to have frequent conversations with TRAMS and often chatted about her dreams for having a job, owning a house and her own car. Shakeela was not one to sit at home and wait for things to happen. She believed that if she put her head down and worked hard, she would achieve her dreams. Her dedication was evident to CatholicCare. CatholicCare offered Shakeela a traineeship with a Certificate III in Business Traineeship which she completed over 2 years.
Now a member of the CatholicCare team.
Shakeela had proven her dedication to her job over the last few years, and the CatholicCare Administration Manager offered her a full-time position as the receptionist.
Shakeela will forever be grateful to CatholicCare for giving her the opportunity to continue to work towards her goals. Her new goal is to afford her up and coming wedding in Afghanistan and make a home for herself and her soon to be husband in Australia. Shakeela continues to support the outstanding community services CatholicCare offer to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds like hers and encourages other migrants like herself to make their dreams reality too.
Learn More About TRAMS