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  • Jatinder Kaur is a social worker and an advocate for mental health. (Supplied)
Brisbane-based social worker Jatinder Kaur provides counselling services in the area of mental health and domestic violence.
8 Mar 2018 - 1:39 PM  UPDATED 7 Mar 2019 - 5:22 PM

Jatinder Kaur was born in the UK and migrated to Australia after getting married to her Brisbane-based husband in 1995.

Kaur has a keen interest in working with migrant and refugee communities across Australia.

The last fifteen years of her professional career spans across various scopes of practice including research, child protection, family support, refugee settlement support, domestic violence counselling, policy roles and teaching social work practice.

As a board advisor to SikhHelpline Australia, she provides strategic advice, clinical guidance and counselling to domestic violence victims.

She shares with SBS Punjabi her journey. 

Challenges she faced

I have faced a number of challenges in my life. When I arrived in Brisbane, I was the second lady to wear a Turban and first at the University of Queensland. I have faced racism and discrimination, however, I believe that it is important to be ‘educated’ and also engage with wider Australian community and share knowledge about Sikh faith, is the best way to tackle racism.

I was very young when I got married and had my 2 children by 20 years of age. My youngest son was born with Short Gut Syndrome which meant that his short bowel could not digest food. He spent the first 3 years of his life at Mater Children’s hospital. That period of my life was very stressful and we prayed every day for our son to get better, he had over 20 operations.

He is now 19 years old and very young healthy active young man, I am so grateful to God as he is a miracle baby. Having experienced hardship and adversity I believe that makes me a better therapist and I am able to assist those in need.

Can women have it all? 

I think its challenge especially for Indian women – to have work, life and family balance. I am very fortunate that I have open-minded husband who allows me to travel for work and I have the support of my mother in law. Without that support I would not be able to do work and community projects I am engaged in.

The best advice she has ever received

Follow your dreams or passion – life is too short.

Advice you’d like to give other women

Australia is land of opportunity – you can pursue your dreams, you don’t need to compromise your faith or cultural identity to achieve those goals – be true to yourself.  

This is part of SBS Punjabi’s special series dedicated to the International Women's Day. Watch this space for more such stories. 

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