Japhet commenced work with OC Connections as a Disability Support Worker within three months of arriving in Australia from Kenya in June 2017. He enjoys being an advocate for our participants in supported accommodation as well as writing and studying part-time.
Role: Disability Support Worker
Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts (Human Resource Management), Diploma of Social Work and currently pursuing a Masters of Social Work
What did you do before working in the disability sector?
I worked in community services and child protection for nine years in Kenya before moving to Australia in 2017.
What attracted you to join the disability sector?
Touching people’s lives is a part of who I am. My parents said I was always advocating for my brothers and others. I believe everyone should be given opportunity to thrive. In Kenya, I worked with my management to engage a rehabilitation counsellor to work with colleagues struggling with alcoholism, rather than have them dismissed. It helped them refocus their lives and become valued employees.
When I arrived in Australia, I was lucky to have a friend introduce me to OC Connections where I was able to secure an interview. My experience and passion as an advocate saw me secure the role and I’ve been here since.
What are the highlights of your role at OC Connections?
I work at one of our off-site homes. When I arrive at my shift I am happy to see my clients. Treating them with dignity and then receiving positive feedback from them let’s me know that I am touching their lives which keeps me motivated to do more.
What are the key challenges of your role?
While I was taught English from a young age in Kenya and my English writing skills are perfect, we didn’t get a chance to practice speaking. My skills have improved dramatically since arriving in Australia, but it still takes some time to sometimes understand the spoken word.
What do you do outside of working at OC Connections?
I am a published author. My book, Squatter’s Farm, is a fictional story based around my experiences of growing up in Kenya where my family were displaced from their land for over three years. I am currently writing another fictional story that is based on my grandfather’s time as a child soldier in World War II. This story is taking longer than planned while I complete my Masters in Social Work.