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New Hope for the Future and a Welcoming Community

New Hope for the Future and a Welcoming Community

Kudawashe Chakanyuka started her CHC33015 Certificate in Individual Supportsix months after fleeing Zimbabwe. Her life had been in imminent danger after she dared to host a meeting for the Movement for Democratic Change, an opposition party to authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe.

Her story reads like a political thriller. Officials from the Zimbabwe African National Union — Patriotic Front (ZAFN-PR) tracked her down. They beat her with sticks, kicked and punched her. They ransacked her home for banned party items and then took her to the police station. Without any official charge that could be placed against her for holding the meeting, she was arrested and thrown in a gaol cell where she effectively ‘disappeared’. Her family were unable to see her or pass on food to her.

When she was finally released a week later, Kuda fled to South Africa. With the ZAFN-PR again looking for her and no offers of help from South African officials, she realised she would have to leave the African continent. Fortunately, her visa was still valid after a recent trip to visit her sister in Australia. Leaving her two children and most of her family members behind, she is now trying to build a life for herself while on a bridging visa, her future still unclear.

With all that she has been through, starting a new life in a new country was not easy for Kuda. Common to many new immigrants, Kuda’s foreign qualifications and lack of Australian work experience made it very difficult to find a job. While she had studied English to pass her ‘O Level’ studies in secondary school, and English is spoken in Zimbabwe as a second language to the African language Shona, her accent was strong and employers were unwilling to give her a chance.

“I found out that an Australian government program would help me study. I always wished to be a nurse, but I couldn’t get into a university in Zimbabwe after school to train,” says Kuda, who ended up working as a cleaner in a pharmacy to support her children. “Life with the government in Zimbabwe is hard, and I was hoping to help make a change.”

Kuda made the decision to study the CHC33015 Certificate in Individual Supportat Macquarie Community College.

“I really like it,” she says. “I’m enjoying the information and taking care of others; the sick, the old, the disabled. I plan to do the CHC43015 Certificate IV in Ageing Support after this.”

Kuda completed work experience at Parramatta Uniting Care just this past Friday. Work experience is a vital part of the course because it gives students a clinical understanding of their course content, and enables organisations to gain a preview of potential employees and their work ethic. Currently, 85 percent of Macquarie students in Individual Support are employed by the time they graduate. In the latest CHC43015 Certificate IV in Ageing Support class that are graduating this week, seven out of nine graduates already have jobs.

Macquarie has been instrumental in helping Kuda settle here in Western Sydney and recover from her traumatic experiences in her homeland. “The trainers are really good, so nice. My trainer is willing to help in anything and is very good at helping us understand the content. Everyone in the class is supportive. We help each other and work together.”

“Studying at Macquarie has been really helpful. It’s very important for me because by going to school I’m occupying myself, I’m not thinking too much, I can do something to help others. Yes you’re working hard, but I find that environment of helping other people very relaxing.”

The College is extremely proud of its long tradition of helping people make a better life for themselves. No matter what their situation and experience is, we provide the learning and community to help them build a better future.

To find out more about our Health & Community Service courses in Sydney call 1300 845 888 or visit the Macquarie College website course page.

*Job outcomes not guaranteed