Earlier this month we spoke to Annie, a devoted HACSU member who came to Australia, with her family, as a refugee. It is truly a privlege to share Annie's story with you.
Tell us about how you became a HACSU member
I was a casual and I was doing shifts in different houses and I noticed I wasn’t being paid right. I went to my supervisor and she asked if I was a member of HACSU. I didn’t know what the union was. My supervisor told me all about HACSU and how they help members, she told me real examples of what HACSU had done to support people. I joined up that day.
What do you enjoy most about working in the disability sector?
I love it; I love it because I am helping people and bringing a change and happiness to someone’s life. Helping people in their homes makes me feel like a part of their community.
Could you share with us your experiences of coming to Australia?
I was a Liberian refugee in Guinea. My UN [United Nations] support adviser said that it is possible to come to Australia. I had to be sponsored to be able to come here. Once I was accepted, I had a 3 day orientation to learn all about Australia.
One of my biggest experiences of coming to Australia was being scared. I was scared of going to such a far, far away land. I was bringing my three children (ages 5, 10 & 13) and I was felt so much fear about what would happen if something went wrong; who do I turn to? I had faith in God.
What can you share with other members about your culture that helps you work in your field?
My Daughter has a mental health condition. Where I come from, they would say that she is cursed. They would say that it’s my fault, or our family’s fault. We would feel shunned.
Here, in Australia, they say “What is the cause, how can we help?”.
Where I come from there is no nursing homes. Family look after family; in my culture community is very important and I bring that to Australia.
What do you love about being a HACSU member?
All the lovely people; people helping people to help people!
When I have problems, they advocate for me. I am included in everything; it is a community of people that I am a part of.
What I love about this country and about HACSU is that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like or how you are dressed, you are equal.
Thanks to Transfer Organiser Cath for organising this beautiful interview. If you're a member who has a story to share - get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org