Mina Furqan couldn’t understand what had happened to her. Back in her home country of Pakistan, she was very active, with a job she loved as a community worker and always involved in lots of projects.
However, it had been three years since she and her family moved to Australia and she was still homesick. In fact, since her arrival she had felt extremely lonely, a situation that, she said, dragged her into a permanent state of depression and anxiety.
One day Mina met an SSI Linker, Rizwana, at a community event where she was doing a presentation about Ability Links NSW (ALNSW), a program that supports people with disability, thier family and carers in achieving their goals.
SSI delivers ALNSW through its Linkers, who have extensive knowledge of their local communities and provide a locally-based, first point of contact for people who want to access support and services in their community.
After the presentation, Mina was handed a brochure, which she read and kept in her bag. After days of hesitation, she gathered the courage to call the phone number and arranged a meeting with Rizwana.
Mina told her Linker about her passions and dreams and how she wanted to feel useful again, as she did back in Pakistan. After assessing her situation, Rizwana linked her with a support group in her local area.
Slowly, Mina started socialising again and getting her confidence back, to the point she began to volunteer in the group’s activities as an organiser.
This was the first step that led her, with the help of her Linker, to apply and eventually get a job as bicultural health educator at South Western Sydney Local Health District.
“She is very happy now and has become an active member of the community as a bi-cultural health educator facilitating women’s health sessions in Urdu and Hindi,” said SSI Linker Rizwana.