Balga disability support worker hopes to continue helping others live better lives

Abdi Kalbesa.
Abdi Kalbesa.

BALGA disability support worker Abdi Kalbesa, who migrated to Perth from Ethiopia without English language skills two years ago, hopes to continue to help people live “better lives”.

Mr Kalbesa came to Australia without his family and friends after receiving sponsorship from the Australian Government.

He completed a traineeship with services provider Rise Network through Health Training Australia before being employed as a permanent staff member.

He was also nominated for the 2017 WA Disability Support Award.

The Edith Cowan University biomedical science student said he had no experience in working with people with disabilities before his traineeship.

“There is a huge cultural difference between Ethiopia and Australia such as the way we use transport, the way we eat, our culture, housing rent, social life and amazingly the way we tell time is totally different,” he said.

“Life was very challenging without proper knowledge of the language but I have never let this little challenge get in my way.

“Working with people who have special needs do not necessarily require background experience or great range of skills, as long as you have a desire and commitment to assist and positive personal qualities like, compassion, determination and understanding.”

Mr Kalbesa said his goals varied between each client who lived in Jeimba House, where he was based at.

“People who live in Jeimba have complex and challenging behaviours – their disability alone is one of the biggest challenges in their life,” he said.

“As a support worker, I make sure they live a better life, through giving them choice, promoting their independence and role modelling positive behaviours, learning experience and skills development.

“I am also working on positive behaviour support plan.”

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