Dr Annie Kilpatrick has been a volunteer for The Water Well Project since our first ever induction session in November 2011. In this time, she has delivered five fantastic sessions. This is a reflection of her session, as one of our more experienced volunteers.
To impart Australian Health System and healthy eating knowledge to a group of parents of students at the Western English Language School (WELS), a school for newly arrived students of all different backgrounds, that assists students with learning English and adjusting to a new culture to prepare them for mainstream schooling and Australian society.
Assessment of Mission:
On arrival we came upon a room filled with eager young and older parents, of at least 5 different backgrounds including Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish, Persian and Thai, with three different interpreters alongside some of the parents.
Given my previous experiences volunteering for The Water Well Project had been to groups of similar cultural and same language background, this was entirely new and I thought to myself, this could be a little bit tricky!
…But when you have a group of such appreciative and enthusiastic people within it, the language and cultural barriers did not hinder the efforts at empowering them with knowledge.
Props were a must, and were well received and handed around eagerly.
The famous “sugar in the cup trick”, to demonstrate the amount in Coca Cola, was met with exclamations of “WOW”.. and a mother poking her husband in his pot belly, demonstrating good understanding we thought.
Talking about the Australian Health System, the white board became a massive “work of art” of lines and pictures of who to call, who to see, when to see, who to pay, where to get your money back etc.. but it seemed to work well.
Some perceived “simple” bits of knowledge that a lot of our society take for granted has now ensured that of the parents in this group: some parents now will have ambulance cover, some will now go to the GP instead of emergency for simple ailments, others now know “000” and its uses!
Very happy parents, with still plenty of questions, but now an ability to not only use this knowledge for themselves, but also to impart it to their families, friends and wider community.
Can’t wait to do another session!
Dr Annie Kilpatrick