I see many different people at the beginning and the end of their time with us and you really do see positive steps that, even if small, are real changes. Sometimes mums can’t see it, but I can. Just by the look on their faces or how they’re talking. It might be the smallest thing like having the confidence to walk down to the shops and back and it makes a difference to their lives. It’s a totally different way of working at QEC and one that draws on people’s strengths.
We’ve also got time to engage with families. The beauty of that is we can actually sit down together and talk before we start. It’s very special to be let into people’s lives at a time when they’re struggling or most vulnerable. We come in and are with them through their journey. Home visits really tell the story. You see people in their own environment and they’re more themselves. We see many different people facing different challenges in different places. What never changes is that you’ve got to listen. Sometimes that’s all people need. Someone that listens and helps us to believe in ourselves.
Spending time with our refugee playgroups is really interesting and so rewarding for me. Our parenting experiences are so different and you can’t imagine the hardships people have faced. Life in Australia is challenging and our playgroups help our refugee families settle in. Getting together to talk with other women has also helped some of our families who were depressed. The kids are wonderful and our music group gets everyone mixing together. The mums love to dance and encourage us to join in too.
I’ve learned so much from these women too – seeing their strength and realising you’ve got to relax and can’t always get stuck on procedures. It reminds me that there is always another way of doing things, another way of seeing things.