A victim of war’s journey to Australia and her passion for helping others

Posted on 18/11/2021

Shelan Khodedah and her family arrived in Australia from Turkey in 2016. They fled from Iraq to Turkey in 2014 when Islamic State militants attacked their hometown, Sinjar, in northern Iraq. Khodedah, who was only 19, faced difficulties as a new migrant and had to learn how to adapt to a new language, culture, people, and food.

However, she took it in her stride, learned the language, and is now giving back to the community as a disability support worker. It was due to her experiences as a victim of war that she became passionate about helping others. “I chose to be a support worker because I want to help people and those in my community.”

Khodedah is currently assisting different communities with disabilities and mental health issues. She loves taking her clients out for a fun-filled day. “It’s always great to have coffee with them at their favourite cafes, as well as cooking together with them. It makes me feel like I am part of their family,” she said. 

She strongly encourages young people to pursue a career in the disability care sector because it is a form of self-development. As a support worker, they would have to be patient, compassionate, and caring towards their clients. She said: “We do our work duties based on love and not just our own interests. It also teaches us responsibility and how to be organised.”