My name is Jacky and I am originally from DR Congo but due to war and conflict, my family and l fled to Kenya where we found refuge for 6 years. Via my experience of being a refugee since early childhood, one of the main challenges refugees face is the language barrier. So, in 2015, when I first arrived here in Townsville I knew that I had to use my language skills as I have always been doing to support my community. So, I do that now as I work at TMSG as a Bilingual Bicultural Support Worker.

My job as a Support Worker includes welcoming people who have come as refugees to Townsville, collecting new arrivals at the airport and completing a local area orientation with them. I also provide language support for our clients and through my experience for so many years working as interpreter/translator, I have realised that the most important part of my duties is not only interpreting the words or the language itself but also to make sense of the message that has been conveyed. So, to be able to do that I have to listen, understand, process and be able to translate and switch between the two languages in a very short period of time.

Apart from working as a Support Worker, I am also a full-time student at JCU studying Bachelor of Biomedical Science. Using my medical skills, I participate in different health related trainings delivered to our clients by providing language support and explaining health concepts and terminology.

Heidi Hatherell