Australian of the Year Awards nominee inspires fellow migrants

  • 31 October 2022

Adelin Taylor didn’t have the best start to her new life in Western Australia when she left Malaysia in 1992. A bad relationship, in which she was misled and lied to, caused her to flee from Perth to Manjimup, where she got a job in a processing plant.

Fast-forward 30 years and Adelin (pictured above third from the left) is now married with two adult children in Bunbury, and supporting other migrant women through the South West Migrant Women’s Group.

“I started the group in 2018 to empower women, whether they have experienced trauma or just moved to Australia. I converted my lounge into a private space for people to feel safe – they may be going through domestic violence and we talk through what to do next, or they might just not be having a great day and need a chat. We started with eight members and we now have 379.”

Not only has Adelin experienced the trauma of a bad relationship, she has previously found herself redundant from her job as a settlement Grants Officer, one of the roles she gained after studying a bachelor degree in social work at Edith Cowan University.

“After I was made redundant in 2017, I sank into a very deep depression. With the South West Migrant Women’s Group, I rebuilt my own self-worth by helping others. Being a social worker has given me a lot of practice – I can give them the tools and encouragement, but also the support through community participation, as it can be very scary in a new place.”

group of people holding biscuits smiling at camera

The group provides members with opportunities to do voluntary work, English language classes and life skills workshops. Adelin explains how this not only helps the members to make Australia their home, but supports others in the community who may be down on their luck.

“We do things like Latin dancing, craft, cooking sessions, painting and discussions about issues that are affecting our migrant community. We encourage their participation, which means even more to them because it creates opportunities to connect and they aren’t sidelined.”

After a tumultuous start to her life in Western Australia, you could almost accept that Adelin may feel some resentment and struggle to forget. However, in 2016, she gained Australian citizenship, which she explains gave her the freedom to properly move on.

“It’s not easy to change your mentality – I was a victim of a crime and I didn’t know what was going to happen. I couldn’t feel hatred, because I am so grateful. People experience much worse and I have come out the other side. Australian Citizenship gives me identity, acceptance, pride and a sense of belonging. Here, you can be who you truly are.”

woman wearing traditional Malaysian dress

Arguably making Adelin feel even more Australian was her being shortlisted in the 2017 and 2022 City of Bunbury Community Citizen of the Year Awards and the 2022 WA Australian of the Year Awards. Nominated as a Local Hero, she explains how it encourages her that she’s making the impact she hopes for.

“The nomination galvanised me to continue to help people. Being nominated creates a good feeling, but we just continue to do our work as if we were never nominated. There are folks out there who are doing amazing things.”

Look out for the announcement of the 2023 WA Australian of the Year Awards finalists – coming soon!

Back to news