Does the WomanCAN program work well? Absolutely - just ask Soon Siek Tao, known to all as Iris.
The Mildura-based Home Care Worker has been at Uniting AgeWell for eight months and not only thoroughly enjoys her role, but was also nominated by colleagues for the Excellence Award - Home and Community Victoria in the 2023 AgeWell Awards.
Uniting AgeWell is in partnership with WomenCAN Australia, a charity dedicated to linking women to a peer supported model of education and employment.
And Iris says she can’t fault her experience with WomenCAN. “Women need support around us to flourish. We need other women around us to help in our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. WomenCAN does exactly that.”
Iris, who moved from Malaysia to Australia four years ago, speaks both Mandarin and Malay, but at first struggled with English. She was also very keen to work with older people, as she has an affinity for them.
Iris looks back on the last eight months as life-changing. “I was blown away when I got accepted into the program and was blown away again when my colleagues at Uniting AgeWell nominated me for an Excellence Award in the home care category,” says Iris. “I got dressed up, flown to Melbourne, enjoyed a night’s accommodation in a nice hotel and attended the awards ceremony at Federation Square in November. It was a great!”
Iris has words of wisdom for others in similar positions. “My advice to women is to step up and challenge yourself. Don’t feel like you can’t do it. Just take the offer of support like I did, and watch your life change. My confidence has improved and still continues to grow – I would not have accomplished that without the help of WomenCAN Australia, who have quite simply helped me change my life. “
Director Regional Victoria Home Care, Meagan Thomas says Iris is kind, caring and provides an excellent service to clients. “We are very lucky to have her as part of our team. Congratulations Iris, you are an inspiration!”