Nasima Mizoi was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, into a large family, the second youngest of eight children. As a child Nasima’s life was idyllic. She lived with her family in a large house surrounded by fruit trees, vegetable gardens and a lot of space to play and run around. The family employed a caretaker, Akter, who tended to the expansive gardens. Nasima remembers him fondly “He was a very kind man, who lived with our family his whole life.”
At sixty-five years of age, Nasima now looks back on her childhood in Afghanistan with indifference. “Afghanistan, before the war, was very like Australia is now, but it is no longer the place that it used to be.”
Nasima married early, as is common in Afghanistan. After the wedding she went to live with her husband, Sultan and his family. Sultan studied French at university and later taught French to school students. They had five daughters together and lived a busy, but happy life.
After thirteen years of marriage, in 1979, Soviet troops moved into Afghanistan and the war began. It was apparent to Nasima and Sultan that they had to leave their home and their country. “I thought, my kids have always been around war, and I didn’t want that for them,” explains Nasima.
“My eldest daughter had moved to Australia and married an Afghan man. We decided to make our way to Australia,” recalls Nasima.
After spending nearly three years in Pakistan, where Sultan was a language interpreter for a local hospital, Nasima and her family’s application for Australian sponsorship was granted, and they moved to Australia.
Three of Nasima’s daughters had not attended school when they lived in Afghanistan, as was the custom. It was too dangerous for them to leave the house in Pakistan, so when they arrived in Melbourne, the girls got their first taste of school.
School gave Nasima and the girls an opportunity to make friends and participate in the community. “I learned a little bit of English when I was a girl, at school in Afghanistan, and the girls learned quickly once they were in school,” explains Nasima.
The Mizoi’s have lived in the Frankston area since they arrived here in Melbourne, 24 years ago. All Nasima’s daughters live in Melbourne with their own families. “My youngest daughter married and moved out. For a long time I felt sick, and lonely. My husband was busy and I don’t drive. I have asthma, problems with both knees and a bad shoulder. I was not well, and not happy.
Nasima’s friends encouraged her to call annecto. Many women like Nasima feel uncomfortable asking for help from strangers. “It’s very hard. We ask for help from each other, but not from outside our family,” explains Nasima.
annecto helped Nasima through the My Aged Care assessment process. Once approved, she received a Home Care Package. She now receive help from a cleaner once a fortnight, a gardener comes once a month and she can use taxi vouchers to help her attend medical appointments.
annecto is an inclusion organisation, committed to connecting people to other people in the community. We understand the culture, language and are able to help women in a way that makes them feel comfortable and safe.
Many women from the Afghan community feel isolated and unable to ask for help. Because Nasima’s friends encouraged her to reach out and ask for some help, Nasima feels there has been a profound shift to the way she lives her life.
“Now with annecto, I am happy again,” she declares.
annecto work with people from all cultures and all backgrounds. Our purpose is to connect individuals and communities to realise an inclusive society.
Read more stories about annecto’s work with the Afghan community:
Watch this video of how annecto work with the Afghan community.