Halime Duzen (migrant advocacy worker, mother of 2): Migrant parents feel isolated when they come to Australia, because of totally different culture, different country, different circumstances, religion, shopping – everything, the setting, everything. I remember when I came to Australia/ I came to Australia when I was twenty-three. I had my first child in here, and it’s a new world to me. On top of that, you don’t know the language. They feel so lonely, so isolated; they feel very lonely in a crowd situation as well.
Naime (mother of 2): My name is Naime and I come to Australia on 7 of April, 1999. First, I am scared because, you know, first country, and I’m sad because my family not here. And no friends, can’t speak English, no activities, just stay home, and is boring.
Tajma (mother of 2): My name is Tajma, I’m a mum of two kids. I lived in Sri Lanka before I came here. As soon as I came here, in 2000, a little bit difficult because no parents, no relations. Even we got the friends, not always we can communicate with them.
Tagrid (mother of 4): I come to Australia in 2002. I left eight people in Lebanon and come just me to here. Not family, not Mum, not Dad. I make wedding in here with my husband. And wedding just me, not family, oh my God!
Onscreen text: Language barriers
Halime: Imagine you go to one country and you cannot communicate with them. And it’s very difficult to know your rights and responsibilities. If you need something, how are you going to find out? And how are you going to get your answers? English is a most important thing for young mums and new arrivals to learn.
Tajma: As soon as I cam here, even when I speak English, they can’t understand what I am saying. Sometimes when they speak something, I can’t understand.
Tagrid: I can talk English, because I lived with Australian people. They’re good friends. When I come to here, man and lady told me ‘talk in English, not talk in Arabic’. I said ‘no, I can’t speak English’. They said ‘yeah, start and do it and do it, and do it’.
Naime: Before I am living in Richmond, near the city. No Turkish neighbours, no Turkish friends. I think more better, because I am learn English [laughs].
Onscreen text: Overcoming isolation
Halime: When young mums come to this new country, to break that isolation, I think the first step would be to contact their local council. When you contact local council you can ask for an interpreter – say, Arabic or Turkish or Greek, and they can provide the information.
Tajma: If they got kids they need to go to the playgroups, library, the music or the parks. Leisure centres, swimming centres or maybe joining to the clubs, cricket clubs, if they’re younger kids, and tennis club, or anything. They can communicate with each other, they can meet a lot of friends, they can get a lot of ideas.
Naime: After my son born, I went to school, and little bit better, because I’m meeting the new friends. Not stay home, go outside. More activities, go to school and things. Playgroup is better, some women’s groups, you know, young mothers. I think more help for you but not stay home.
Halime: The other good things is library. Many libraries has beautiful activities with children and mums. They provide music session and story telling and also there’s language information in the local area. The other thing is you can go to churches and you can go to mosque or go to community groups. The leaders I think can link you with other service providers. For example, kinders or for example family services organisations, for example, community leaders.