Jannet Stolinski: Lutheran Community Care

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Jannet Stolinski: Lutheran Community Care

Jannet gently helps new refugees navigate life in Australia

The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant has enabled Lutheran Community Care to undertake community engagement and group outings with vulnerable and isolated migrant women. Outings have thus far focussed on activities based at Westfield Marion Shopping Centre and in liaison with Hamilton Secondary College. Some of the grant funds have been utilised to enable catering during the outings.

As a result of these outings Lutheran Community has been able to explore different opportunities available to their client group including education opportunities and social groups.

As an employee of Lutheran Community Care, Jannet Stolinski personally meets new refugees in southern Adelaide and help them to assimilate into the community.

She is fluent in Arabic, so she is a comforting presence and is able to engage quickly and deeply with people who come from international trouble spots such as Afghanistan or Syria.

She gently guides them through health and community services, helps them fill in forms and explains general correspondence.

Jannet’s own family came to Australia as migrants. Her mother was from Egypt and her father from Lebanon. “I watched how difficult it was for my parents. From a very, very young age I knew I wanted to help,” she says.

One of Jannet’s many innovations has been to set up a network of bilingual doctors and dentists. And thanks to a partnership with the City of Marion Council, she has pioneered a community program for isolated mothers, complete with creche facilities.

“It was really important to get a program up and running that they can bring their kids along to so they can get out there.”

Many of the people Jannet works with experienced significant trauma before arriving in Australia. So, an important part of her role is to be an ongoing presence in their lives and to lend an empathetic ear as they relate their life stories.

Jannet says her work with refugees has taught her a lot about life and humanity. “Their resilience and their compassion and just the fact that they are able to get up in the morning and do what they need to do, it’s so incredible to me.”

She says being voted a Westfield Local Hero feels fantastic and she is grateful for the support from the community.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.

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