What Makes My Work as a Facilitator Meaningful? By Eman Al-Dasuqi.

Most of us want a rewarding work experience. Especially when we spend most of our waking life working!

So, what makes work meaningful?

I‘ve been asking myself this question ever since I was a young adult.

As a young person in Jordan, I studied arts management and worked shifts at an oldies radio station. My mum made me feel like I had the coolest job in the world! She would listen to my 5 hours shifts and I made sure I played her favorite artists; Paul Anka, Demis Ruososs and Julio Iglesias to mention a few.

Of course I would have much rather played Alice Cooper and Eurosmith instead! But I knew mum and other people were smiling and recounting beautiful memories that music brought back.

And that made the job meaningful 😊

As time has passed I’ve realised that feeling what I’m doing is ‘making a difference’ helps me experience greater satisfaction with life. And while I need to satisfy material necessities, feeling purpose, respect, meaningful relationships and growth are what keeps me and many of you engaged with work.

 Lets now fast forward to a few years ago when destiny pointed me towards working in the Multicultural, Community and Health sector in Australia.

This sector is buzzing with hard working, task focused humanitarians!  They come from different ethnicities, education and work backgrounds. BUT! they’re really similar in terms of working towards the greater good, building respectful partnerships and paving the way towards fairness and equitable human rights.

So what made my role as a Cultural Competence Trainer at CEH meaningful?

 I’ve been in Australia for 13 years. In that time I’ve worked as a bi-lingual health and financial literacy educator. This work has confirmed that THERE IS A GAP between the Australian health system and people from migrant and refugee backgrounds in Australia.

Over the past 13 years I’ve become more and more aware of the barriers that create this gap. Work opportunities, acknowledgement of overseas education, being able to find health and social services, source housing, language barriers, cultural differences and social isolation all play a role. These disparities became more apparent in COVID times.

I NEEDED an opportunity to communicate the stories, I needed a pathway to help make a difference and that’s what happened when I was appointed as a Trainer at CEH.

To get me started in my new role, my training teammates Siri Gunawardana and Jolyon Burford  introduced me to incredible CEH resources like tip sheets, eLearning, frameworks and webinars about Cultural Competence,  Health Literacy & Language Services.

After digging into this goldmine, I felt that it was my responsibility to live up to and integrate what I’d just learnt into my own standards and ways of working. Especially seeing as I’d be asking others to do the same. So I reflected on my existing understandings and made an ethical commitment to:

  • Seek more opportunities to engage with people from other cultures
  • Reflect on my own unconscious biases
  • Listen and learn from others experiences
  • Acknowledge my privileges
  • Continue to educate myself on existing and emerging determinants that negatively impact migrants and refugees in Australia
  • Explore authentic resources and refer to evidence-based research and frameworks
  • Communicate effectively with everybody, especially my team members

The Lessons I learned

Learners are not empty vessels that need to be filled. Training participants are already doing the really hard complex work of trying to help clients get better outcomes. They have many, many skills and a ton of knowledge they’re already using! We need to create training that encourages participants to bring this with them. In  the same way us trainers bring our skills and knowledge.

At CEH, we’re trying to create a space where we come together and explore and reflect on practical and ethical ways to make peoples’ lives easier using a combination participant knowledge and skills and our own. We have one goal: to make participants work with refugee and migrant clients more effective, easier and more satisfying!

We can find meaning in most jobs with the right mindset, but it’s especially true when the working environment nurtures this mindset.

I’d like to say a big thanks to the team at CEH for the environment that made my time with CEH meaningful, purposeful and full of growth. I’ll miss you all!

In case you’re wondering why I’m leaving such a great workplace, it’s the opportunity to work on one of my most prized life goals – uplifting and empowering migrant and refugee women’s health, financial independence and professional development where I live in the north.

But don’t worry I’ll be seeing and working with my CEH tribe as I undertake this work!