Manager of a Neighbourhood Centre
When are you at your happiest?
I think I’m at my happiest when I’m not doing anything. So I am committed to so many things that do make me happy, but when I have to get up in the morning and there is nothing to do, it’s like bliss. Or if I have time to go and veg at the beach, or in the country somewhere, tree change, lover of nature.
What’s something that you are passionate about?
I’m extremely passionate about social justice, especially for refugees and asylum seekers. I just wish there was more that I could do.
What is a significant achievement of yours?
Having my daughter. We were at a place where we thought we couldn’t have kids. She’s our miracle child. That’s my most, I feel, significant achievement.
What do you hope to achieve in 2016?
I just started a new job and it’s the dream job. I think I’m there I just want to do it well. I think I’ve got there for 2016, it’s just maintaining the status quo I guess.
I’m a manager of Maleny neighbourhood centre. I used to be a project worker / multicultural worker. So it’s engaging with communities, community development, and just helping. It’s such a beautiful space to be in. It’s so spiritual and the people are just giving. It’s such a pleasure to go to work.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’m one of those people that tell everyone everything. I don’t think there’s much that people don’t know about me!
I guess that I do get nervous sometimes. People think I’m very good at public speaking and stuff like that, and being a community leader. But there’s always that fear factor, I may not show it, but it is there.
What was the biggest risk you’ve taken?
I think it was probably career wise changing career. I had a fairly successful career as a sonographer. And then to take a cut in pay to go and do something completely different, in terms of working with community, and having to give up ultrasound, I think that was one of the biggest risks I’ve taken.
What’s something that has changed your life?
I think the biggest thing that changed my life was 9/11. I think until then I was probably just existing, and going through the motions of life. But when people started asking me about Islam, it made me focus on my religion in a different way. It developed into an obsession and a passion, wanting to know more so that I could answer questions, but then loving the history of my particular side of Islam, and wanting to know more about that, it’s never been quenched. I just loved the historical part of that.
I think it was the fact that a lot of our non-Muslim friends rang to see how we were, and to make sure we were ok. It was really touching. You don’t realise how many lives or people you’ve effected until something like that happens.
What’s your best advice for others?
Follow your gut. Always listen to yourself. Trust your instincts and don’t try and be something you’re not. Because as you get older you realise that’s who you are, you get proud of living in your own skin and being comfortable with who you are. And so if I was to tell my younger self, that would be yeah, just be comfortable with who you are and trust your instincts.
Is there anything Australians should know about Islam?
I think they should educate themselves more. I feel that the current generation is very ignorant about Islam and tend to be like sheep and follow everybody. There are some that will go out there and actually want to learn and educate themselves. But I think not only about Islam, but about the world. Australian’s are very isolated and need to have more of a world view. And I think that’s what I find a lot of migrants where we come from, our education is very world view centered.
But we just seem, we’re happy, we’re content where we are in Australia and that’s kind of it. Now that the world with social media and stuff is starting to encroach on us, I hope that we are prepared to handle that. It just seems that some places and particularly when you hear rhetoric from people in power, it’s not very conducive to social harmony or cohesion in the community.