Registered Nurse Roshna Bista is pretty clear about what she’s going to teach her young son one day.
“I’ll be teaching him the best of the values from my home country of Nepal – and from Australia,” she says. “So that’s the wonderful way that we have blended families in Nepal where three generations live under one roof. And of course the freedom to be whatever you want to be in this land of opportunity that is Australia.”
And Roshna, who works at Uniting AgeWell Newnham Community Aldersgate Village is equally determined what she’s not going to teach little Rivaan.
“About the caste system that is still very prevalent in both Nepal and in India,” she says bluntly. “Here in Australia, and particularly at Uniting AgeWell, we are all equal, we are all treated with the same dignity that we afford everyone else. And that’s what I will be teaching him one day.”
The theme of Harmony Week, from March 20 – 26, is ‘Everyone Belongs’ and it presents an opportunity for us to celebrate what we practice each and every day. That everyone belongs. Inclusiveness is not only championed by Uniting AgeWell, but enshrined in our blueprint and is one of our five values – the others are kindness, respect, integrity and innovation. A snapshot of our staff shows that 42 per cent were born overseas representing 363 countries and speaking 38 different languages.
So who is this bright, go-ahead nurse who is making her mark on the Aldersgate Village Community not only through her skills and professionalism, but through her rapport with older people?
Roshna was born to an upper-caste family in Nepal, did her schooling there and studied her nursing degree in India. She worked for a year in India before returning home and agreeing with her parents’ wish for her to enter into an arranged marriage.
So, at the age of 23, she met her future husband, IT specialist Pramit, they dated for a while and then were married in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony. “But the choice of whether Pramit and I would get married was entirely our own,” she says. “My parents simply facilitated the possibility of the match taking place. It’s a custom that I respect.”
Pramit was keen to move to Australia for career opportunities, and so when they arrived, Roshna studied here to qualify with Australian nursing standards. She started work at Aldersgate Village in beautiful Tasmania early in February 2021.
“I’ve worked in hospitals before, but from the start I was drawn to working with older people,” she says. “My grandparents lived with us at home in Nepal. My Granny lived to be 102, and we all nursed and cared for her. It was a privilege – and I see her in the residents that I care for.”
And because her family is far away, Roshna regards the residents and staff at Aldersgate Village as almost a second family.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Uniting AgeWell,” she says. “The organisation’s values are my values. The team is wonderfully multi-cultural, there are people from the Philippines, from India and Nepal and from all over. And I have been welcomed here right from the start.”
Uniting AgeWell General Manager People and Culture, Gen Toop, says, “We’re proudly an inclusive organisation championing diversity in all its forms. But we’re different in one sense. One of our prerequisites in hiring people is that they share our values.