This Harmony Day we want to share with you the story of one of our newest employees, Najeeba Abdullahi.

Since moving from Afghanistan to Adelaide in 2005, Najeeba has spent years studying to give her the best chance of getting a job.

After 12 years of study – firstly learning English, then gaining SACE and a myriad of tertiary qualifications including enrolled nursing – and still not finding work, Najeeba was close to giving up all hope.

Then last year she heard about our Building Family Opportunities (BFO) program, which helps long-term unemployed families secure work.

For 12 months, our BFO staff supported Najeeba to apply for jobs and when she was close to giving up, they encouraged her to keep her head high.

“I told them I was getting disappointed … they said, ‘Don’t get disappointed, you will get a job’,” she says.

“They told me, ‘It takes time but don’t give up’.”

Najeeba’s persistence finally paid off this month when she secured a position as a Personal Care Assistant at our Hawksbury Gardens Aged Care home in Salisbury North.

“Firstly I didn’t believe it because I thought it was impossible because I had tried so many places,” she says.

“I have no words to use to say thank you … the staff at Building Family Opportunities are like angels for me.”

People such as Najeeba make up the rich tapestry of staff at UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide.

Our employees come from more than 60 different countries and between them speak almost 80 languages – and this diversity is always growing.

This Harmony Day we are celebrating the incredible diversity of our staff, volunteers and people we support with a special lunch and the launch of a mural at our Family Centre in Port Adelaide.

We are also marking the final week of our Multicultural Soul Food Exhibition at the Migration Museum in Adelaide, which can be viewed daily until March 24.

The exhibition features the stories of 11 people from eight different cultural backgrounds whose connection with food has influenced their journey and time in Australia.

“It’s not just the food … it’s the story of their journey and the reason people have come to Australia, the hardships they have faced and their current passions,” UCWPA Ethnic Link Services Project Officer Christine Gamble says.

“It’s really about valuing the diversity of what people have brought to Australia.”