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Our Voices: Stories of Carers from Refugee and Migrant Backgrounds

Our Voices: Stories of Carers from Migrant and Refugee Backgrounds, is a beautifully crafted series of five short videos offering rare and profound insight into the lives of carers from migrant and refugee backgrounds, caring for family with mental illness.

Each narrative is told in the carer’s original language, and has been subtitled in English. Each narrative has also been voice dubbed into the five community languages, Arabic, Vietnamese, Turkish, Dari and Somali, and these videos are available on DVD from Victorian Transcultural Mental Health. 

Click on the images below to watch each narrative in its original language and subtitled in English.

The films explore the lives of five carers from Afghani, Egyptian, Somali, Turkish and Vietnamese communities. The carers speak independently, yet collectively, of common difficulties encountered in advocating for culturally sensitive and culturally-responsive mental health care and the benefits of seeking support.  The stories of the carers have been uniquely captured via the collaboration and support of many leading mental health, carer and multi-cultural organisations (see these below) and produced by the Australian film house, Digital Black. 

VTMH would like to thank all the individual storytellers, their families and friends, the film-makers, Digital Black, support workers and everyone who contributed to the making of this extraordinary project. The participants and organisers hope it encourages people to seek support and to share their experiences.

Ordering a copy of the DVD
A limited number of hard copies of the DVDs were produced to coincide with the launch of this resource in October 2014. Hard copies of the DVD series, complete with an information kit about the project, can be requested. Expressions of interest will also help identify demand and potential for pursuing options for further print runs. 

Register you interest in ordering hard copies of the DVD  here

Mr Ly (Vietnamese with English subtitles)

Mr Ly came to Australia form Vietnam by boat in 1980 alone, leaving his wife and children behind.  Advocating for their resettlement took over ten years.  He was reuinited with his family in 1991.  He and his wife have been caring for their son full time since 2001.  Mr Ly began to attend a Vietnamese carer support group since the diagnosis of his son and continues to do so today.

Kevser (Turkish with English subtitles) 

Kevser arrived from Turkey in the late 60's with her husband.  Kevser has been the primary carer for her daughter for the past 17 years.  She has been attending a Turkish carer support group for the last 12 years and believes that this has given her the courage to negotiate the stigma attached to her daughters illness and above all get necessary help for herself and her daughter.  She enjoys listening to Turkish folk music, cooking and gardening.

Amina (Somali with English subtitles)

Amina cared for her brother for over 20 years.  Amina's brother was diagnosed with a mental illness soon after his arrival in Australia.  Amina along with her Mother were the primary carers for her brother.  In spite of many odds, Amina graduated as a social worker and has worked with her community in the local community health service.  Amina is quite vocal about the negative perceptions held by her community towards mental illness.

Said (Arabic with English subtitles)

Said arrived in Australia from Egypt 42 years ago.  Whilst being a qualified engineer by profession he also gained his qualifications as an accredited interpreter.  He has been a carer for 35 years.  Said has worked with a number of mental health service providers as a carer consultant and is passionate about advocating for the needs of carers.  His focus is on the caring experience and not the personal journey.  He also attends various courses and enjoys reading, walking and socialising.

Arefa (Dari with English subtitles)

Arefa, a Dari speaking Afghan lady, talks about her experience in caring for her father with mental health issues.  A number of years after their arrival, her father was diagnosed with anxiety/depression.  Arefa and her family cared for their father throughout his episodes.  She shares her experience from the lens of a daughter.