I grew up in a small town in Tasmania, as part of a Lebanese family…
Being different is hard work when you’re a kid. Not only did I look different, but my family was different, my food was different and my culture and beliefs were different. Been teased was part of the daily ritual at school.
Not to feel accepted for who you are is soul-destroying. It makes you question yourself, instead of embracing your uniqueness. At times, I didn’t feel I belonged. This has a lasting effect.
As I‘ve got older, I’ve developed a real desire for social justice; to represent the vulnerable and needy in our community; to stand up to the bullies and the red tape we face in our lives. Most importantly, I want vulnerable and disadvantaged people to feel like they are worthy; that someone cares about them; that they are important. All people deserve to feel accepted for who they are.
Here at Bonnie’s, we do our best to help our clients feel like they are an important part of the community, by providing them with access to support and resources, and by addressing their essential needs. The majority of our clients are survivors of trauma and we acknowledge their courage and work towards empowering these women to make positive changes in their own lives, so they can rebuild a sense of self-worth.
It warms my heart when I hear clients say they feel understood, valued and accepted. It makes me feel proud and also humble.
The sense of belonging we strive to create for our clients also extends to staff. Since I started at Bonnie’s in March this year, I have felt like a valued member of the team. I feel like my opinion matters and my contribution is recognised. It’s a very supportive place to work. I have a caring team of people to talk to, debrief with and bounce ideas off. This has helped me feel more confident in my role and in my approach to working with clients.
As a child, being different was very challenging. But it made me strong and it helped me develop qualities that I now rely on, like an appreciation of difference, and the ability to focus on what unites us, as human beings, not on what divides us.
Written by Susan