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Jamila – NSP Harm Reduction Worker

Image by Philip Bohle

Jamila works in social services. Originally from regional Victoria, Jamila now calls Hobart home and currently works in a community based harm reduction program.

She gets a genuine sense of fulfilment from her work and  experiences the importance of connection, integrity, and serving others in the pursuit of a meaningful career.

 

Unity in Purpose

 

Jamila and her colleagues  share common goals and drives, providing vital services to the community. The cohesive environment in her workplace nurtures a space where she can seek support and guidance when facing challenges. There are mutual learning and problem-solving opportunities that arise from the diverse backgrounds and experiences of her team members, emphasising that two heads are better than one in navigating the complexities of their roles.

“No matter what happens throughout your day, no matter how challenging, there’s always someone that you can speak to or talk to who might have gone through a similar situation or might know another colleague who’s also dealt with a similar issue. So I think that’s something really special and speaks to the collaborative environment that we have.”

 

Inspiration in Impact

 

Jamila works in a needle and syringe program (NSP). Her inspiration comes from the powerful stories shared by the members of the community she serves. These stories are a testament to the positive impact the NSP has on people’s lives. From providing access to critical healthcare resources, such as hepatitis C testing and treatment, to assisting individuals in obtaining housing, Jamila’s work has a profound impact on the lives of those she serves. The joy of witnessing positive change in individuals’ lives serves as a constant source of inspiration, reinforcing her commitment to her social justice principles.

 

“To have a space like the NSP where you can come in, it’s private, it’s confidential, it really creates that environment where people feel that openness to be able to speak to you about things that maybe they haven’t spoken to other people about or haven’t felt safe to speak to other people about. So I think that creates a closeness and an environment with the people that we work with every day. And you hear wonderful stories of if someone hasn’t come in for a few months or something, they might come back and pop in and say, “Hey, I’ve been taking a break (or something), but I wanted to pop in and let you guys know that I’m okay.”

 

A black and white photo shows a woman smiling for the camera. She has long hair and dark, kind eyes.

Image by Philip Bohle

Embracing Integrity in Serving Others

 

A core aspect of Jamila’s work is understanding that her role isn’t about changing people’s behaviour but providing support and information to empower them to make informed decisions for themselves. With a non-judgmental and harm-reduction approach, the NSP program creates a safe and confidential environment where individuals feel respected and valued. Her deep commitment to integrity in her work helps her maintain authenticity and respect in her interactions with clients, fostering trust and openness.

It’s nice to come in every day and know I can have a real impact on someone’s life, on an individual level, and that can continue on just on those simple interactions every day.”

 

Unleashing Her Full Potential

 

Jamila’s work allows her to explore her full potential and creativity in addressing the diverse needs of the community. As part of her role, she develops innovative projects and initiatives, such as addressing period poverty and providing drug testing strips, which positively impact the community. 

It’s a lot more about how I can see where the community would really benefit from some creative solutions. How can we try and meet their needs? And sometimes it’s not about spending a whole bunch of money, sometimes it’s just about putting together a little resource sheet.”

The NSP’s open and collaborative environment allows her to constantly seek new opportunities for growth and self-development, fostering a strong sense of fulfilment and purpose in her work.

Jamila serves the community by meeting their unique needs, including access to resources, information, and healthcare. Beyond her direct interactions, she also raises awareness about critical issues, such as opioid overdose prevention, through her “Got naloxone?” t-shirt, sparking conversations and potentially saving lives.

The NSP really aligns wholly with my core values. And I think that’s one of the most important things that keeps me really wanting to fight and do the best that I can at my job for the people that we work with, because I understand the difference that it can make to someone’s life”

Jamila’s journey highlights the impact work in this sector can have on both service providers and recipients. Through unity, inspiration, integrity, and service to others, Jamila demonstrates how aligning one’s values with their work can lead to a fulfilling and purpose-driven career. Her commitment to social justice and equity, shaped by her own experiences, enables her to create a safe and supportive environment for vulnerable communities. Jamila’s story serves as a reminder that genuine dedication and empathy can transform lives and foster positive change in society.

 

Our sincere thanks to Jamila for her contribution to Work with Purpose. To find out more about working in social services access an information guide here.

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