A FORMER refugee is assisting with a cancer screening project for the Karen community in Bendigo.
Boe Htoo arrived in Australia with her two children in 2018 and studied English through a migrant program and a health service assistant course at Bendigo TAFE, later followed by courses in individual support and disability.
“My parents are still living in the camp,” said Ms Htoo. “When I first came to Australia the biggest challenge was starting a new life because everything was new for me.
“I inform the project from a refugee lived experience, including the codesign of culturally safe and easy-to-understand cancer awareness information.
“I love this position, it is meaningful to me and helpful for the refugee community.
“I have experienced a few patients who have had cancer in the refugee camp. They didn’t have an opportunity to get treatment and care, follow-up investigation or to do screening because the cost was very expensive.”
Ms Htoo said she has also helped out in the English migrant program as a volunteer.
“I assisted students who had a language barrier, interpreted between teachers and students, and supported them with doing their tasks and extra help if needed,” she said.
“The volunteer work was very beneficial for me. It made me more confident and helped me with self-improvement. I could also assist people who needed help.”
Those who may be learning English are not alone, said Ms Htoo, who said she received support from the people around her.
“We are not refugees anymore, because we are in the right place, the safe and peaceful place that we have dreamed of and expected.”