(Suzanne Reszke; Iryna Dwyer; Faride Habibollahi; Diana Hollins)
After establishing herself on Australia’s Apple Isle, Afghan migrant Faride Habibollahi is taking steps to build her dream business – and contribute to her adopted community.
When 45-year-old Faride arrived in Launceston, Tasmania, as a humanitarian entrant four years ago, she admitted that she had no understanding of English but was eager to learn. Along with her son and three daughters, Faride was determined to learn the language and settle into her new home.
“Initially, the language was really difficult for me – but I tried hard to learn, and after four years, I’m able to read and speak [English] clearly,” said Faride.
Shortly after her arrival in Australia, Faride was referred to the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) by her humanitarian entrant caseworker. The program, facilitated by the MAX team in Launceston, provides language and literacy tuition to migrants and humanitarian entrants to help improve their English language skills, so they can settle and fully participate in the Australian community and workforce.
AMEP also helps new arrivals to form community connections, engage with others, make friends, reduce feelings of isolation, and improve their understanding of the Australian community. AMEP classes address key cultural understandings and cover a range of settlement topics, including basic daily activities and how government systems work.
Faride also took additional steps to improve her English by volunteering at Launceston Women’s Friendship Group, as well as Launceston General Hospital and Inveresk Community Dinners.
But it was her love of cooking that led to make the next step in her Australian life.
Buoyed by her volunteer work, and the progress she was making in her English language skills, Faride made the decision to begin selling hearty, home-made food to the people of northern Tasmania.
“About one year ago, I started selling food at the Evandale Market – it has helped to meet people, to learn and speak the language better,” she said.
Faride cooks her variation of traditional Afghan food all day every Sunday, including cheese kuku, garnished potatoes, and afghan kababs.
“I’ve tried different recipes to try different flavours - when people eat my food, enjoy it, and they say it’s really good, I’m very cheerful,” said Faride.
“I love Launceston – the life here is really good, and the people are kind. It’s my hope to start a restaurant here in the future.”
Excitingly, Faride’s community work and small business has attracted attention from Zonta International - a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.
After a nomination from Faride’s teachers at MAX Solutions Launceston, Faride was awarded a $500 cheque from Zonta International to help her grow her business. Faride said she plans to put the money towards equipment for her kitchen.
We wish her all the luck going forward!