The importance of friends: An invitation for migrant women to connect


    By Kritika Sharma 

    I moved from India to Melbourne in 2017 and am now living in Tarneit. I am married to Vikrant Sharma, a wonderful husband and father, and am also the mother of two beautiful kids. 

    Being a new migrant, I faced the usual struggles of leaving behind family, friends, and a way of life. Instead of being super qualified in India, I had to start over and it was very hard to settle here. 

    Things in Australia were a bit different back then. Women from overseas struggled to find work, friends and good company. With study and perseverance, I managed to get into my line of work but there was a part which I was missing: the part called friends. 

    Soon I really felt the lack of connection. I hardly went to work because I had to look after my kids. In 2018, luckily, I met my soulmate friend Reena who was running Indian Women in Australia (IWIA) and this group gave me the power of living my life with friends. The purpose of IWIA is to bring women from diverse backgrounds together offering a ‘Safe Space’ to build friendships and connections, learn from others, share skills and talents, and be supported to feel empowered. I became the moderator of this group and it feels so overwhelming to know the other women from different communities. 

    We have been able to incorporate a variety of activities including free sessions for yoga, free DV sessions, migration sessions, a journal (with stories of the diverse voices of women), and fundraising to provide support for those in need. 

    As a group we like to experience the outdoors and also hold small get-togethers on special occasions like Mother’s Day, Halloween, Christmas and school holidays. We also play Tambola when we can. We do volunteer work in nearly every field in every suburb and in each state. 

    While working as a teacher and NDIS provider, I need this group of friends because it gives me happiness, and I made a new beautiful family here because of this group. If you’re someone like me who is missing family and friends, this group is for you. 

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