We offer FREE English classes every Thursday 10am-12pm at Inala Community House (38 Sittella St.).
We welcome everyone from all backgrounds to come learn how to speak, listen and write better English! Volunteers are welcome too!
Meet Musnarti Dickinson, aged 72, from Indonesia. She is one of our wonderful volunteers at Inala Community House with many years of teaching experiences.
Q: Hi Musnarti, how long have you been in Brisbane?
A: I came here from Indonesia in 1982, and have been living in Brisbane for 34 years now. I initially secured a PhD scholarship in Griffith University, and then taught Indonesian at the same university for many following years. Recently, I also took the initiative to study website designing at TAFE in order to keep up with technological advancements.
Q: How did you find your volunteering passion?
A: I started volunteering by teaching English in the Vietnamese Catholic Church and Acacia Ridge Community Centre. Now I spend at least 3 days a week volunteering at different places.
Q: How did you start volunteering at Inala Community House?
A: I was introduced by the Mercy Romero Centre (www.romero.mercycs.org.au). I love teaching English classes at Inala Community House, with the challenge of managing a classroom of students with varied educational backgrounds.
Q: What is the best part about teaching?
A: I truly enjoy being a teacher. You get a great sense of achievement to watch as your students progress, from learning ABCs to being able to read and write fluently.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in teaching?
A: Often, the biggest challenge is to create and maintain interest in learning. This is especially tricky for refugees because the future is uncertain. As a result, many would have little or no motivation, and would rather engage in other more “fun” social activities that don’t involve active learning.
My saddest memory was teaching a group of Burmese refugees. They were all around 40-50 years old without any education. It just breaks your heart seeing them not being able to read or write. I had to teach them from kindergarten level. In Australia, people struggle to find jobs despite having formal degrees with great English skills – what more them?
Q: What do you think of Inala?
A: I love Inala! It is a vibrant community and people are extremely friendly. Once I asked for directions and a helpful lady even offered to walk me to my destination!
Q: How do you spend your days?
A: I enjoy volunteering, cooking and walking. My husband is 78 and he is active in choir-singing and dancing too. As we grow older, it is important to stay active physically and mentally.
Q: What are your interests in life?
Besides volunteering, I am a great advocate for saving the environment, renewable energy and refugee communities. I strongly believe in equal opportunities for everyone regardless of their backgrounds. For example, all the accounting lecturers whom I previously worked with at Griffith University were all Vietnamese refugees, but they are now capable to live normally just like any other Australian.
At Inala Community House, we offer migrant support through Community Settlement Service (CSS) to help our refugee clients becoming self-reliant and participating equally in Australian society in the long run.
We also offer a wide range of services and activities to support all members of our community. To find out how we can make your life better, contact (07) 3372 1711 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our website www.ich.org.au.