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empowermentfamilyfearrelationshipsreligionspirituality

From a rough start to a greater purpose

From the age of five, three of my uncles began sexually abusing me. Whenever my parents had a party there would be a lot of drinking and one of my uncles would creep into the bedroom I shared with my sisters and molest one of us. I knew it was wrong, I didn’t like it, but I really didn’t understand because I was so young when it started and I didn’t dare speak up because they were our uncles and I was...

compassionconnectionhappinesshumilityInjury and disabilityparentinguncategorizedwork satisfaction

Everyone needs connection

I was lucky enough to have a successful but intense legal and investment banking career and so in 2003, at the age of 40, I decided to take timeout and do something else. I volunteered at The Matthew Talbot Hostel for homeless men in Woolloomooloo, Sydney. This immediately made me feel great and showed me that the homeless men were just the same as me, except their lives had taken a number of unlucky turns...

uncategorizedwork

Injury to insight

I went to Papa New Guinea in 1990, to work as the Travel Lodge Banquet Manager. I had finished cashing up one evening and got into my car, when a silver sedan pulled up behind me and two guys got out. One started bashing the back of my car and the other attacked me through the window with a rusty machete. My arm was covered in blood and I thought they...

culturediscriminationfamilyparentinguncategorized

Kids don’t discriminate

My family and I have lived in Australia for 7 years. I came here to study and now I am a chef. We moved so we could offer our children a better future and better education. Life is good in Australia but we have come across a lot of discrimination. I think this is because of the way the Australian media portrays China. The news is always negative. I would like to see the media talk about our rich....

culturehappinessuncategorized

Sweet music

I grew up in Romania and Greece and lived through the Depression and both wars. I arrived in Australia in the 40s on an American warship. I’ll never forget sailing into Sydney Harbour and seeing Luna Park. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! People say I am always happy. How can I not be. I have my music, my family and I live in a...

purposeself beliefself discoveryuncategorizedwork

The eureka moment

The wrong side of the bar taps, armed with a dynamite education, potential to burn and struggling under the weight of parental expectation to “Be Somebody” at age 22, I found myself plying the local Tradie crew with booze until they slid off their stools. Since leaving private school in 1980, I walked away from a science degree, quit on an architecture degree and was now a sponsored competitor of...

culturefamilyuncategorized

Respecting all people

My husband’s university in Saudi Arabia sent him here to complete his studies. We arrived in 2008 and he'll finish his PhD in Physical Education at the end of the year, after which we'll return home and he'll teach at Taif University. Having 3 children here without the help of my family has been challenging. If I was in Saudi Arabia, I would be surrounded by relatives all the time. Over there, we have one...

acceptancecultureempowermentloveself beliefself discoveryspirituality

Accepting the colour of your skin

As long as I can remember, I felt different. I went to a private school in Africa where my teachers were British, so I never had a strong African accent. I was tiny and the darkest, even though my class was all African. At 12, I moved to another African country, to live with my cousins, where my dark skin and fluent English made me even more noticeable. By the age of 19 I met my Australian boyfriend and...

deathkindnessuncategorized

I wish I had been a better neighbour

I used to live in an apartment building and two storeys above me on the third floor lived a woman with her 5 year old daughter, Lucia. She used to wave at me sometimes while I was in the building's courtyard. After a few months the woman's husband returned from jail and it was obvious he had a drug problem. This caused problems in the building as they were noisy and made a mess. After a verbal altercation...