Atoor’s award nomination for overcoming barriers to employment
Atoor Tamris is the true definition of a survivor. Born and raised in Iraq, the refugee was forced to flee her home country after her life was repeatedly threatened in 2009. She has overcome fear and threats to her personal safety, the challenges of leaving her home country to start a new life in Australia, plus the grief of losing both parents.
Now she is using her lived-experience and passion for helping others to mentor other refugees in Australia. She is also proud to be a finalist in the Achiever of the Year Category at the upcoming National Employment Services Association (NESA) awards.
Atoor said her community-based work helped her regain the confidence and strength lost after her distressing experiences.
“The day that I was told I had this job was the first time I had smiled for two years after losing my parents,” Atoor said.
“Before, I had so much pressure on me and it changed me. Because of this job, I returned to the same person I was, strong and dancing. I feel empowered to look to my future.
“Now I try to help my clients take that first step. I always share my experience with my clients, to let them know that yes this is real, I came to Australia as a refugee just like them. I had no working history here like them. But I studied, I got good support from the right people and now I am working. I mentor and guide them to access the right services like I did, to help them to start their new life in this beautiful generous country and motivate them to reach their goals.”
Atoor is also helping many refugees overcome the stigma of needing mental health support.
“Many believe they can’t attend health and wellbeing services,” Atoor said.
“I talk to my clients about my own positive experiences with employment and mental health services, and I can see they recognise what I’ve overcome. It gives them hope.”
Atoor’s resilient and community-minded attitude sets a wonderful example for other refugee job seekers and everyone at MatchWorks is so proud of her achievements. Congratulations Atoor.
The winner of the Achiever of the Year Category will be announced at the upcoming National Employment Services Association (NESA) awards on Tuesday 8 June.