NASRIN VAZIRI – IRAN
I divide my life into three chapters: before the Islamic revolution, after the revolution and my life as an Australian.
My name is Nasrin Vaziri. I am from Kashan, a city in centre of Iran. We are known also as Persians in the West. I was migrated to Australia with my husband, Mehran and our two daughters in 1990. Our third child was born in Australia.
In Iran my social life as a woman was very restricted after the 1979 Islamic revolution. I was threatened with jail for wearing lipstick.
My husband had a good income, but there was a lot of poverty, and I could see my own country going backwards. We disagreed with the socio-political climate. We applied for permanent residency in Australia through the points system and were accepted, but it took 3 years to process the application.
Although we put many financial achievements behind us, we did not come empty handed. We brought ideas and abilities that we want to contribute, not just to use the things that have already been built. I had only limited English. As a tourist you are a customer, when you live here you are a seller, and you have to liven up your presentation. My husband, who has two masters degrees in engineering, had no work for 6 months, then he got 2 weeks work at GCCC, and has continued working there.
I started researching, and art became my tool for communication. I got my Honours Degree in Communication from Griffith University and I have developed 4 major projects for community organisations and 30 smaller ones. I also published a book “Bittersweet” about women’s experiences here and ran a Persian /English newspaper for 5 years. I developed GC MAGIC to promote multicultural arts and in 2003, I received the Centenary of Federation Medal for my contributions to Australian Multicultural Society.
Despite my wide experiences in the field of cultural and arts, I do not see many job opportunities around. I think people like me are more judged by their origin and the backgrounds rather than their skills and abilities.
In most cases the ‘equal employment opportunity’ remains as a slogan and not a practice for us.
The system seems to consider people like me suitable for voluntary work or being self-employed.
I am doing my Ph.D. research now. I am confident that I can contribute so much in the area of arts/cultural fields in the city where I live.
My dream is a practical equality, not just a slogan.