Iraqi refugee and AMES client Karam Al Shaaya has been supported to find work and to negotiate a coronavirus scare within his family by AMES Australia staff.
Karam will begin work shortly as painter with a construction company after arriving in Australia in October, last year.
Karam's AMES Australia Case Manager Rita Betto said that Karam was passionate about finding a job and was supported to get early activation with Jobactive. He was also connected to Centrelink and helped to get a driving licence, even with the restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had to help Karam get an exemption form for hardship priority so he could sit his driving test which he passed," Rita said.
“We also connected him with AMES' Individual Pathways Program and with employment officer Madona Awad who supported Karam's job seeking activities," she said.
Just as Karam was beginning to actively look for work, his daughter's school was a scene of a lockdown after a positive COVID-19 case.
“Karam and his family were overwhelmed by this and by the fact the Northern Hospital was calling him to say that his daughter needed to be retested three times," Rita said.
“Karam was not driving at this stage so we organised for his daughter to be tested a local medical clinic and we checked in on them on a daily basis. It was a difficult and scary time for the family but it was important that we made sure everyone was safe and heathy, especially mentally," she said.
Karam worked as painter in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul but were forced to flee when ISIS attacked. They found refuge in another city but eventually had to leave for Lebanon.
The family spent four difficult years in Lebanon, five of them living in just one room.
Karam says he is happy to be in Australia and grateful for the support he and his family have received from AMES and especially from Rita.
“I am so happy to have the chance to work. I'm starting to settle now and look forward to the future with hope," Karam said.
“I want to focus on my English and complete my AMEP as well as work to support my family. After COVID and the restrictions are lifted and I have some experience of working in Australia, I will think about starting my own business," Karam said.