I am from the Ezidi community from Northern Iraq. I live with my husband and children in Toowoomba. CatholicCare has helped me to settle in Australia and start to build a new happy life here for me and my family.
I had been in Australia for 18 months when I first went to CatholicCare TRAMS.
I was really missing my extended family who are still overseas. I hadn’t seen them for many years. We had all been through intense persecution and were forced to flee our home in Iraq. I found this very traumatic. While I am now safe in Australia, I often become sad and depressed when I think about what has happened to my community and family. I miss my home, my community, friends and family. Some are now safe in other countries, some still in Iraq, and others we don’t know where they are or if they’re alive. We are no longer together.
On my first visit to CatholicCare I was very scared and unsure if I could trust them. It was difficult for me to look at my caseworker as she spoke, and I did not want to use the interpreter there because I didn’t know if I could trust them. I didn’t feel safe. Over the next few sessions, the caseworker explained things to me and helped me to understand what I must do to travel during COVID restrictions. I became comfortable with using the interpreter and caseworker. I know I can trust them. When they offered me a place in the group programs run by CatholicCare, I was willing to try.
I started to attend a weekly English class. My children were invited to play outside with some more volunteers so I could concentrate on learning. I enjoyed talking with the English-speaking volunteers. I was also able to attend another class to learn about driving in Australia. I had only been to primary school in my home country and had not had a driver license before, so this was very exciting for me.
As I worked with the volunteers in my classes and my caseworker, I started to smile and laugh more. I now contribute to class discussions, and feel more confident to talk to new people. I still need to learn English but I am trying to use my English more. When finished the driving course I asked my caseworker to help me join more groups. I am not the same sad, scared women I was when I started with TRAMS. I know my children and I are safe and welcomed here in Toowoomba and I am excited to build my new life. I want to try new things and make lots of friends.