Shizleen Aishath has walked through the ruins and destruction of what has become known as the Great Tsunami in her home country of the Maldives.
She spent countless days as a 17-year-old in 2004 helping the tiny communities salvage what its grieving and traumatised residents could and doing what she could to help them rebuild.
Many communities were completely washed away.
In 2013, Shizleen, with her husband and then an only son in tow, packed up her life in the Maldives and moved to Australia where she wanted to get the best education she could to do what she loved and to provide for her family.
The now Bunbury social worker and mother-of-three have worked hard to set up a good life for her family, although the 32-year-old is humble in her achievements.
But Shizleen is facing perhaps her toughest challenge yet.
Her family of five is fighting to stop their youngest family member being deported because of his disability.
Two-year-old Kayban has severe haemophilia – a bleeding disorder which stops blood clotting – along with an acquired brain injury, which occurred when he was born in Bunbury.
Kayban needs weekly medication and round-the-clock care.
Shizleen holds a temporary skills shortage visa while her husband, daughter and other son are on support visas.
Kayban was refused a visa because of his health condition and the risk of healthcare costs, despite Shizleen and her husband Jamshaad covering all costs for nearly three years without access to support such as Medicare.
If Kayban was deported, he would most certainly die with the treatment he needs not available in the Maldives.
“I can’t in my good conscience take him home knowing he wouldn’t get the medication or the treatment that he needs to survive,” Shizleen said.
Shizleen and her family had planned to move home after Kayban was born in 2016, but those plans were shelved after his diagnoses.
“Jamshaad and I constantly live in the fear of what’s going to happen next and it’s also that as a young family, we can’t do anything – we can’t look at buying a house, we can’t look at settling our family,” she said.
“We are quite future-focused people that have five and 10-year plans written up, we were going to end up somewhere in Africa, working internationally, that was always the plan.
“But obviously things change and I think that the thing I struggle the most with is that I can’t plan for my family more than anything else.
“It’s just that constant fear of not knowing and not having that control, which would be nice once in a while.”
While what Shizleen and her young family are facing is unimaginable, it is clear her strength and positive outlook on life – along with her love of Australia – is getting them through.
“I get ‘it must be so hard to raise a child like that’ and it’s not, that’s his normal … everybody’s normal is different. My normal is I’m really awkward but really talkative at the same time,” Shizleen laughs.
In a twist of irony, Shizleen works with children who have disabilities and her perspective on her chosen career is incredible.
“A lot of my friends say ‘how do you do it, you live it and then you go and work’,” she said.
“I look at it like it’s a privilege, it’s a really massive privilege to be able to work in a space like this.
“It’s a really hard thing to go through … struggling with the health system alone is massive when you have a disability and to allow somebody into that space where you’re really vulnerable as a family, I find that such a privilege to be in that space, to be honoured that.
“I really, really love doing what I do – I love meeting new kids, new people which I do every day and sometimes we curse things together, but just to be there for them, I really love it.”
Shizleen has an online petition to get Kayban a visa.
Full details are available at the link below:
Source URL: Google News