Violet Town's 'Thai' has overcome some big hurdles since leaving Thailand and settling in the north east.
It is a long way from the rice paddies of Thailand to the wide open spaces of Violet Town, but Bunliang White is successfully making that transition with the help of employment services provider CVGT Australia.
Bunliang — ‘‘Thai’’ to her mates and loved ones — is emerging from the shadows of illiteracy in her native Thai and limited English, and has secured a job through CVGT.
Thai said she worked on a rice paddy in Thailand’s poor rural north-east, and cooked and cleaned for her family from the age of seven, with no schooling. She now lives in Violet Town with her husband, their nine-year-old daughter and her older children.
CVGT Australia Benalla branch manager Ray Tuckett said he worked with Thai and a team of support services for more than three years before she began in January as a part-time cleaner at Violet Town Bush Nursing Hospital.
Mr Tuckett said Thai had come a long way.
‘‘We’ve gone from where her husband came in and he did all the talking for her, to now, where he just sits in the corner because she can have a pretty fluent conversation,’’ he said.
He said he and Thai tried three other immigrant literacy courses until they found the right one —a telephone tutor through the Adult Migrant Education Service in Melbourne.
The next step was a vocational preparation course through Mission Australia. Then, as her English improved, Mr Tuckett worked with Thai to support her through work experience placements at a Violet Town opportunity shop and the local primary school.
With little English, no driver’s licence and little public transport available, Mr Tuckett said local work experience helped Thai to become involved in the community and learn English.
‘‘It was about getting her networking and in a group so that she was part of something, because she was pretty isolated,’’ Mr Tuckett said.
CVGT assisted Thai to set up her own cleaning business and, last month, she began work at the hospital as a cleaner four hours a day for two days a week, and she also volunteers at the op shop.
‘‘She still needs supervision but they are working with her to the point that they can be confident she can be left on her own,’’ Mr Tuckett said.
‘‘It’s been a long process but we’re getting there and she’s doing really well. To see a long plan come together is great.’’
Thai said she loved working at the hospital.
‘‘It is a very good job. Everyone is good to me in the hospital. Everyone here (at CVGT) is good to me. Cleaning is not hard. In Thailand, I really work hard.’’
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