Real Carers Real Stories – Robina
A single mother to six children for over 20 years, Robina is the carer for her 33 year old son Ismail who has cerebral palsy, depression and anxiety.
Robina also has a number of health conditions but it does not stop her from providing full time care to Ismail. He needs constant attention, such as personal hygiene, washing, cooking, lifting him when he falls, and other care duties. She is helped by her young son who helps dress and shower Ismail.
An anthropologist by training back in Kashmir, Pakistani-born Robina, came to Australia in September 1996. Unable to get her qualifications recognised, Robina retrained receiving a Graduate Diploma in Public Health and she now advises on domestic violence.
As a single mother, juggling full time care of Ismail and working to support her family over the years has proved very challenging.
'While I happily care for my son, I found my situation very overwhelming,' said Robina.
'As a practicing Muslim, my religion says I must have patience, but I have come to understand the need for support and help. Without this assistance I would be unable to continue to properly care for my son and my family.'
While at her doctor’s surgery, Robina saw a poster about Carer Gateway and how it could help. Upon visiting the Carer Gateway website, the counselling and coaching services caught her eye.
'At times it is so hard to cope that I become depressed and teary. So I thought, why shouldn’t I use the services on offer? We are advised to ‘follow the system’ so I did. I am so grateful the government is helping people from different cultural backgrounds, such as myself, get the help we need.
'I rang the 1800 422 737 number on the Carer Gateway homepage and spoke to someone who understood my circumstances. They were caring, and were able to help me access a package of counselling and support. I was so grateful that this is a free service, otherwise I would not have been able to afford it.
'I’ve had several counselling sessions now and I am starting to feel much better as it is good to be able to speak with someone. I have support and a network I can reach out to when it gets too tough,' said Robina.
'I can’t recommend Carer Gateway enough. People care, they understand, and it is confidential. It has made a real difference in my life.'