Ilham is a single mother of two children who was living with her mother back in her home country. Although Ilham is not particular wealthy, she was a hard worker who ensured that she could give her children the best opportunities in life. Before she came to Australia, she worked alone and made enough to get by every month. As a parent, she dreamt of getting her children the best quality of life possible, but despite all her hard work, she was barely making enough money to afford the tuition fees for her children.
One time, Ilham heard about the prospects of working as a fruit picker on farms in Australia. She knew of some friends who were making upto $300 a day and she could not let go of this thought knowing that it would give her children a change in life that they deserved. So she applied for a working visa and got accepted, but this meant making some tough decisions for the future. Ilham planned to leave her children with her mother and travel to Australia for 3 months to earn an additional income. The farm would cover the cost of her flight tickets to and from Australia, as well as provide accommodation for all workers, which made it easier for her to accept the opportunity.
Unfortunately, once Ilham started work in Australia, she discovered she had servere allergies to the fruits she was working with. She tried to persevere through it but she ended up in hospital due to severe breathing issues and had to stop working immediately. The farm suggested that she should go back home while they could still cover cost of her flight tickets. However, leaving the country in the height of the COVID pandemic meant that she would need to undergo a 2-week quarantine which she could not afford.
This would be the end of her work here in Australia but Ilham knew she couldn't return empty handed to a family who was promised that this trip would change their lives for them. Ilham needed to find alternative work and accommodation for the next few months before her visa expires. During this time, she turned to NZF who has been able to assist her with financial aid and Essentials Vouchers while she secured a new job.
Ilham's story is a reality that many Muslims on working visas face in Australia. What would you have done in such a situation?