New-found safety

Every day Rochelle Kapp wakes up grateful that she and her little family won’t become the latest statistics in the ongoing farm murders across South Africa.

Ten months ago Rochelle packed a few suitcases of clothing, bought one-way tickets and flew with her two children to join her husband who manages an avocado farm in Wood Wood, just outside Swan Hill.

He used to manage the avocado farm where they lived in northern South Africa and two years ago secured a similar role here, getting settled first before Rochelle and their children joined him.

Now her son, 8 and her daughter, 5, are happy in school and Rochelle has started work as a Home Care Domestic Support Worker at Uniting AgeWell’s home care office at Loddon Mallee North. And this beautiful area in regional Victoria that Rochelle and her family live in is starting to feel like home.

“The best part of my day is when my clients’ faces light up when they see me,” explains Rochelle. “We chat and laugh as I go about the duties of cleaning around the house, and I also enjoy taking them shopping and to medical appointments.”

Rochelle, who used to do office work in South Africa facilitating pensions, has an affinity for older people. “I get on so well with them,” she says. “Uniting AgeWell is very supportive, especially around me working school hours.”

The role is also a wonderful opportunity for Rochelle to explore the area as she travels to visit clients. “It’s lovely to explore the countryside,” she says.

A plus factor is the number of geographical and lifestyle similarities between the two countries. However, adjusting to a new life takes time. “Sometimes it feels like a dream that we are here,” she says. “So much in our lives has changed.”

There are some things never change. “My kids still don’t eat avos,” laughs Rochelle.

During Harmony Week we’re celebrating the cultural diversity of our staff with a clear message that we welcome all, and that everyone belongs.

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