• Refugee Voices

Mother determined education an opportunity for all, no matter what your age.

Babra is a happy-go-lucky and very determined nurse and female scholar who was born and raised in Zimbabwe and is now living with her family in Sydney, Australia.

"I am most proud of being a mother. As a single mother, my kids listen to and understand me, my prayers were answered there,” says Babra.

We talked for over an hour and laughed together on what was a beautiful Spring day in Australia while she shared her story about being raised in Zimbabwe, where women were actively discouraged to become educated. The common thinking in the 1950s and 60s was that if a female could sign her name and then read a document, that was enough for them.

"In those times in Zimbabwe, once females reached a certain age of maturity, we were married off, then we were to have children and be a wife and a mother. That was it for us females.

When we were growing up, all options were given to the boy children. We had six boys and two girls in our family. If you could write your signature, that was enough.

We weren't very rich; we were middle class. I went to high school, I got married and became a mother.

I did, however, get work with the World Health Organisation, in sanitation and feeding the less privileged. I really enjoyed that job. I enjoyed promoting independence and preventing disease, and it inspired me to become a nurse.

When I moved to Australia, I first studied Certificate 3 in Disabilities, then I worked in aged care for five years. In my fourth year, I enrolled in University to do a Bachelor of Nursing. It was good for me.

I also completed a Bachelor of Social Welfare Work online in 2016. That was very difficult to do as I didn't have a lot of knowledge about how to navigate the online learning space at that time. Can you imagine?

I worked full-time, studied full-time and was a full-time mother. Some people might be surprised to hear that I was able to do all of those things at once. My family were surprised by the amount of study that I did, but I studied when there was any chance I could.

My hope is to go forward and complete a Masters Degree and then a PhD in Social Work.

I love nursing though. It's not about money, it’s about the outcome. If you are doing the job just for money, then you're not doing the job properly. From the time of people’s admission to the time they return home, I love the care that I can give.”

Babra tells me she believes it is important to speak out, to use your voice to help others learn their rights and responsibilities and to help them have the confidence to speak out too.

"You can do anything, no matter your age. It is never too late as long as you are determined to do it.”

Babra envisions returning to Zimbabwe as she ages, to enjoy the company of community and dreams of starting an educational foundation for children in Africa.

"You can do anything, no matter your age. It is never too late as long as you are determined to do it," says Babra (left).

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Refugee Voices is a refugee-led community organisation committed to ensuring that when it comes to the policies, campaigns and decisions that affect us, our voices are heard loud and clear.

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