What’s something that you are passionate about?
I currently have two passions in my life that I’m just really into at the moment. One has always been art, I love painting, I love designing designs, so that’s something that I do as a hobby and it helps me relax.
The other thing I’m really really passionate about at the moment is working with refugees. That’s something that I’ve started doing on a volunteer basis. I just love connecting with people, so that’s I would say my biggest passion. Just being with people, and knowing their story.
What are your favorite subjects to explore in art, and where can people see it?
I’ve recently completed a Cert 4 in Colour and Design and my favourite subjects to explore are the use of colour, as well as surface designing, which I would love to implement in fashion and interiors one day. I hold a great appreciation for the influence history & culture have on art and want to use art to inspire & benefit others. In the meantime I keep painting in watercolours & practicing henna designs on my friends & family & you can see some of my designs on my instagram account soon @designs_by_nas.
What first inspired you to work with refugees?
I would say my own experience as a migrant to Australia 13 years ago inspired me to help newly arrived people connect with established Australians. Having no shared history or networks with others I did feel quite isolated at times. During my years working as a receptionist and interacting with people I’ve heard many refugees’ stories and discovered that so many people are professionals or highly skilled individuals. Even for those who aren’t I realised they generally have so much to offer to enrich our society if given the support and opportunities.
What do you hope to achieve in 2016?
This year I’m actually embarking on volunteering, working with refugees. I hope to make that connection with some people, with family, and help them to integrate into society. And thereafter just take it from there and continue doing that sort of work.
Who is your role model?
I have a lot of people I draw inspiration from, and it’s all the people around me. My parents, my sister, some of my teachers, people I work with. It’s people that have strong values, people who are not afraid to go out on a limb and take a chance, and do what it is they want to do. Follow their dreams, follow their hearts, and those kind of people really inspire me.
What was the biggest risk you’ve taken?
I would have to say moving to Australia was the greatest risk, because I had no idea what my life would be like here. I did it with my family. It just opened up all sorts of doors and took me in a direction I had no idea I was going in. So that was the biggest one.
I would say starting a new life in Australia has changed my life. It has given me the opportunity to be a different person who I think I wouldn’t have become had I not come here.
What was it like first arriving in Australia? What were some of the challenges you faced?
It was both a challenging & fascinating experience settling in Australia, one that I am blessed to have had. Looking back I remember being amazed at the shopping malls, the train systems, the hustle and bustle as well as the sheer size of Sydney – the city I first arrived in.
I found it strange to not see people walking along the roadsides as we did in Zimbabwe, my birth country, or the way people didn’t smile at each other as they passed by in the shops or streets.
I’d say the biggest challenge was feeling homesick for the life we left behind as well as our extended family and friends. However that quickly changed as our good friends in Australia became our family, and once moving to Brisbane I very rarely go anywhere without saying “hello” to at least one person I know!
What’s your best advice for others?
Approach life with an open heart. I think if you are open to what life has to offer, and open to change, and you embrace that change, you can do things beyond your wildest dreams. And you find who you really are at your core. And I think that is my best advice.
What role do your beliefs play in your life?
My beliefs play a simple role in my life. I would say they are a guiding compass in my life. Whenever I have to make a decision, big or small, or just decide who I am going to be today or in the near future, I always reflect on my beliefs and how they can actually help me and give me the confidence to be who I want to be and do what I want to do.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I’d like to say through my experiences with people, I realise that everybody is the same at the end of the day. We all have the basic needs and wants, we all feel the same way about ourselves, our families are important to us, and I think it’s so important to focus on our similarities rather than our differences.