Shama supports mainstream organisations to work more effectively with ethnic clients experiencing crisis. A short time ago, we received a phone call from a mainstream worker who felt they were not connecting well enough to their client, and weren’t sure what they were missing. It felt as if there were unexplained things happening in the relationship. They had their client’s permission to contact Shama, and called Fariya.
After the call, Fariya Begum (pictured), called the client. “I introduced myself, the service and the reason for my call. We organised a face to face talk, and spoke of her rights and that she could choose to engage with us or not”.
Before talking about the case, both the client and Fariya shared about their own cultures and the process of migration to New Zealand. “Being ethnic we spoke of the taboos of such issues which allowed me to talk about confidentiality and what does it look like in practice” said Fariya.
The survivor told us, “It is easier to speak to a woman about these things and specially to an ethnic woman because she will understand how it is for an ethnic woman”. After the conversation the client was much more comfortable talking about her own culture and what had happened to her, with her mainstream worker. Fariya also explained how she was able to get free counselling either with a person who speaks her first language, or using an interpreter, if she didn’t want to access support in English.
It’s as simple as this, sometimes. The crisis service is here to build connections and keep everyone safe as we navigate the things that are different for ethnic people who have experienced harm.