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MCWH: A voice for migrant & refugee women's wellbeing in Australia

60 seconds with Shabnam Daliri

60 seconds with Shabnam Daliri

Shabnam 2

Community worker, international student and equality advocate

What is the best thing that happened to you today?
I talked to my big sister on Viber. She is my only sister, I do love her and she means everything to me. I just wish we didn’t have to live so far away from each other.

If you were a super-heroine, what powers would you like to have?
I would like to eradicate poverty and racism. I’d make sure every child had equal access to education and health care.

If you had a magic wand, what would you use it for?
On a personal level, I would like to use it to see my father once again as he played an absolutely crucial role in my entire life and all my achievements. More generally, I would like to remove all the world’s borders, so people could live in peace together.

What talent would you most like to possess?
I would like to be good at playing the santoor (a Persian musical instrument) so I could chill out and relax whenever I was feeling stressed.

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
A scientist, in order to be able to discover an effective treatment for all types of cancers.

What is the best part of your day?
At night because it is calm and quiet and I can think thoroughly and be creative without any pressure and stress.

What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty and loyalty. I am quite lucky to have two amazing and wonderful friends since I was 7 years old. Thanks to technology we are still in touch with each other even though we live in different parts of the world.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone new to Australia, what would it be?
To seize golden opportunities because it is very easy to lose them and also never give up working hard.

What’s your favourite word in the English language?
‘Yes’ because I am a positive person.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a woman from an immigrant or refugee background?
There have been two major challenges: the first one is being away from your friends and families who are your best supporters and the second, is finding a job that recognises my skills and qualifications.

Can you describe a time when you felt discriminated against as a woman or as someone with an immigrant or refugee background?
I come from a country where the system of government is patriarchal and women are regarded as second citizens and where their life is literally valued as being half of a man’s life. However, I think discrimination exists everywhere and being able to advocate for eliminating discrimination is the most important goal and dream for me.

For you, what’s the best thing about being a woman from an immigrant/refugee background?
As a female immigrant I think it is valuable to know your native language and your own culture while at the same time learning about new culture and language. Because I believe that women are the best educators and teachers for the next generation.

Describe a time when you felt that being an immigrant or refugee woman was an advantage?
I work with the community. It is an amazing feeling when you understand people’s problems without being judgemental as you know their values, cultures and also sometimes you experience the same difficulties. Therefore, you can support, assist and advocate more effectively.

Tell me about an amazing woman you know.
I’ve always admired my mother. She is really a good role model for me and my sister. She sacrificed her life for us (my sister, me and my younger brother). Bringing up 3 little kids during the war between Iraq and Iran is not an easy job. She always protects, encourages and supports us in the best possible way. I also would like to say that I have met so many amazing women in my entire life who significantly influence me and I have been inspired by them.

If you could convince the world of one thing, what would it be?
Equality, as I believe that everyone has the equal right to live the best possible life.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Unfairness.

If you could meet the Prime Minister tomorrow, what would like to tell him?
I would like to talk to him about very unfair barriers for some hardworking and successful immigrants who apply for permanent residency.  For many, going back to their country of origin often means being placed in dangerous situations.