Emina Kovac: Immigrant Women's Speakout Association NSW
Emma teaches women computer skills and reboots their self-confidence
The $10 000 Westfield Local Heroes grant has enabled Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association to help fund its Multicultural Women’s Shelter, which opened in 2017. This shelter provides a safe place, transport money and food vouchers for migrant women. The fund as supported eight women at the shelter for the past four months.
Life can be tough for refugee and migrant women seeking work.
Many are fleeing domestic violence and don’t have the skills to land a job.
But with the help of Emina Kovac from Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association NSW, they learn to use a computer and reclaim their self-confidence in the process.
“A significant number of the learners are able to get paid employment,” says Emina who arrived in Australia from Bosnia in 1997 on a humanitarian visa.
Most of the refugee women who attend Emina’s computer-literacy program are from Afghanistan.
Many balance caring for their grandchildren with their computer classes.
The women attend a two-hour lesson once a week for 44 weeks and learn how to use email, create documents and protect their computer from viruses.
Emina also teaches the women how to write resumés and use the internet to search for jobs.
Her calm manner and non-judgmental approach make her ideally suited to teach women from a wide range of cultural backgrounds with varying computer and English ability.
Emina carefully considers the needs of each learner and recognises their achievements to encourage them to feel more positive.
Her teaching approach also encourages the women to interact with each other, which helps them to make friends and feel less isolated.
One of Emina’s success stories is Darlena, who finally started to land job interviews after a year of lessons.
“In the following year Darlena was offered a paid job in a clothing store and she felt she reclaimed her self-esteem and partly recovered from the trauma of domestic and family violence.”
Emina says being voted a Westfield Local Hero is a “challenge and an inspiration” for more community engagement.
“Of the 25 migrant and refugee women that Speakout has provided temporary accommodation and support to, 98 per cent are victims of domestic and family violence.”
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.