Being a Parent: Salma’s resilience in a new country.


June 19, 2024

Salma is a mother of two, who went through different cultural and life pressures as a refugee, moving between the countries of Iraq and Jordan, and now living in Australia.

Salma came to the Being a Parent (BaP) program overwhelmed and anxious about raising her children in a new country. She was uncertain and lacking clarity on the approach to parenting, driving her to the brink of madness. It has manifested in not allowing her children to play, move around, or express their feelings and thoughts. It also came to a point where she felt that her family was not welcome in Australia.

When she saw an advertisement for BaP, Salma wanted to make changes. She enrolled in the BaP course and attended weekly. Feeling inspired by the bicultural family mentors and other parents in the group, she felt empowered and eager to make positive changes.

“I learn[ed] to understand children’s behaviour and I learn[ed] to let my children express their emotions. I feel better with myself and with my kids, and I started treating them better by implementing a routine,” Salma said

BaP is part of Uniting’s Communities for Children Hume program and is a free 9-week course targeted at bringing up confident, sociable, and happy children and families in Australia.

The program tackles understanding a child’s behaviour, clear communication and listening through play, discipline strategies, and other parenting topics. It is an opportunity to meet other parents and share the rewards and challenges of parenthood.

For Salma, it also helped that the program she attended was delivered in Arabic.

As opposed to what she felt prior, Salma has now gained confidence in parenting. With the support of bicultural mentors, she was referred to English classes which enabled her to enrol her child in kinder. It also provided her an opportunity to engage in the kinder program and read bilingual stories for the children.

“I am so glad I joined the program, the program was more than [a] learning journey, it is [a] daily practice, I feel [like] a good enough parent,” she said.

Uniting through its Communities for Children Hume Program has been collaborating with VICSEG New Futures to implement the Being a Parent – Hume Peer-led Parenting Project since 2017, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Learn more about Communities for Children Hume.

Learn more about Uniting’s Multicultural Support Services.

*This is a true story about real people, based on a project report provided by VICSEG New Futures.
*Some details such as names have been changed to respect the wishes of the people featured. The photo accompanying this story is for illustrative purposes only. It is not a photo of the people featured in this story.

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