Each week, we will feature a member of the HBNC team, giving you a chance to Meet the Neighbours. The goal is to highlight and celebrate the people at the heart of our organisation, who work tirelessly to make the Wide Bay Burnett community a stronger and more resilient one.

This week, we'd like you to meet Farzina William, CAMS Support Officer.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Bula (Hello). I’m a proud Fijian, from the main island of Viti Levu. I was born in a town called the Sugar City of Lautoka. The village where I grew up is called Sabeto, five minutes away from the international airport. My house is next to the garden of the sleeping giants in Nadi.

I have been married for 20 years to an awesome fun loving wati (husband). We are blessed with two beautiful children, 10 and 16 years. I love their humour and understanding the differences in cultures. It’s never a dull moment when we are speaking our language and the room is filled with laughter as we explain what has been said.

Taking advantage of my height, I was encouraged to play netball, which I enjoyed and loved. “We” (which in my culture means my entire village) take pride in displaying skills with sports at home. One other sport that we are very much involved in while growing up is “tin pani”. Almost every Fijian growing up has played this game, mostly for fun and laughter. 

I also love cooking, meeting people and reading.

Quirky fact: If someone says lizards or snakes…you will see me run!

What is a quick summary of your professional background?

I was a primary school teacher in Fiji, then migrated to Australia where I continued teaching for a year. I then worked as an employment youth mentor, child safety officer and families case manager-counselling. I started working at HBNC in 2017 as a Migrant Support Officer, later moving into the CAMS role. I have to say it is a blessing to be part of a wonderful organisation, where everyone is like a family, having great mentors and being in a positive environment.  

What drew you to work with the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre?

I was introduced to Multicultural Services in my student placement from USQ. I was amazed by all the services, the new people that I met, and the diverse activities and events for the community. I continued to volunteer once my placement hours were completed to oversee a project with the CAMS program.  

How do you see your role making a difference in the lives of the community’s most vulnerable?

I work with diverse cultural backgrounds, where I meet people who have English as their second language. I feel privileged to connect people and families to services that they can access and, in some situations, where CAMS program can assist the culturally and linguistically diverse community.  

What’s one thing you hope to see happen or change for our community?

One thing I wish to happen is promoting more awareness for domestic and family violence (DFV) in different languages. Also people getting access to professional translator and interpreter services upon first point of contact, so they are not missing out on information.

Vinaka! (thank you).