For mother of five, Bassima, a move to ECEC meant a chance to support community
The Sector > Practice > Long Day Care > For mother of five, Bassima, a move to ECEC meant a chance to support community

For mother of five, Bassima, a move to ECEC meant a chance to support community

by Freya Lucas

December 12, 2022

Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) Bassima Al Hadi is much more than a teacher – she’s also a community advocate, a mother of five, a grandmother of eight, and a support person for those navigating a new life in Australia. 


A chemistry and biology teacher in her native Iraq, Ms Al Hadi made the move to early childhood when she moved to Australia in 2004. 


“It was too hard to continue teaching high school in a new language,” she explained. “I was surprised how much I loved the change and working with younger children.”


She runs the Arabic-language program at Gowrie Broadmeadows Valley, a highly successful program that has had funding extended for 2023 through the Department of Education and Training.


Earlier this year, she was also approached to take over the Adult English classes at the service, in cooperation with the neighbouring Broadmeadows Valley Primary School Community Learning Hub, for people in the Broadmeadows community without visas. 


For Ms Al Hadi, it has quickly become more than just a class and she now helps class members navigate life in a new country, from how to open a bank account to applying for courses. 


“I teach them about different organisations that can support them with food and clothing, and we look at funding that’s available,” she says. “We also do cooking classes and learn about aspects of Australian culture; things like ANZAC Day and the Melbourne Cup. Once a term I take them out for coffee or lunch.”


Class attendees are also encouraged to share their own history, culture and food. “Everyone will bring their food to share,” she says. “We have so many cultures and everyone is very proud. We even put together a recipe book featuring all our recipes from all over the world.”


Her drive to help others came from watching her mother do the same. 


“My mum had eight children and I remember my dad was away, in the army, for a long time. We didn’t know if he was alive and we had no money,” she recalls. “My mum started selling her gold, her wedding ring, to feed us, but she still managed to find enough to help other families.”


One of her brothers was the first in the family to leave Iraq, settling in London, and sending money to the rest of the family to support them. On arriving in Australia, she has fond memories of being supported by kind strangers. 


“We had five girls when we arrived, some teenagers and some younger,” she says. “I found so many people here who have helped me and I want to do the same, to give back to the community.


“I have lived in Broadmeadow’s for 17 years and I know this community. I know their struggles and I know how hard it is to find yourself in a new place where everything is so different. It’s a wonderful, connected community and everyone supports each other.”

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button