Princes Court

Syrian Refugee Carves Out New Life in Mildura as Aged Care Physiotherapist

Syrian Refugee Carves Out New Life in Mildura as Aged Care Physiotherapist

Recently published article in the Mildura Living Magazine 

“Before I migrated to Australia from Syria and Lebanon, I was shown pictures of Mildura which would be my new home town, and I liked what I saw but when I arrived, I liked it even more,” says former refugee, Ammar Aldaod, who is now approaching his first anniversary as a much-liked physiotherapist for Mildura’s industry-leading aged care provider, Princes Court, a retirement village in Mildura.

“I’m so grateful at this second chance in life and to do what I love in such a wonderful, friendly and welcoming community like Mildura,” Ammar, 31, says in between seeing physio clients at Princes Court Mildura aged care facility. “I plan on staying in Mildura and am applying for my mother and two sisters in Syria to join me here.”

Established in 1957, Princes Court is a major, not-for-profit community providing for 100 Mildura aged care residents, 76 independent living residents and hundreds of others that benefit from Princes Court’s new at home support services.

Princes Court Chief Executive Officer, Jenny Garonne, said the facility prided itself on its compassion and innovation towards clients and staff, a guiding philosophy reflected in the organisation’s 2020 national award win for Excellence in Age Services, a prestigious honour bestowed by Leading Aged Services Australia.

“We worked diligently with the international, UN-sanctioned organisation, Talent Beyond Boundaries, and the Federal Government over a long period to bring Ammar to Australia and sponsor him via full-time work at Princes Court as a physiotherapist,” explains Ms Garonne. “We and Talent Beyond Boundaries were able to streamline the red tape needed to bring Ammar here, which will make it easier for skilled refugees in war-torn countries to migrate to Australia in the future.

“Professionals like Ammar were falling between the cracks as they had the qualifications but needed help connecting and obtaining pathways for their qualifications in other countries so hopefully our success with Ammar will make that process easier in future.

mildura aged care

“We really value the priceless opportunity to help people like Ammar rebuild their lives here in Australia after being displaced for so long, and in turn, Ammar has become a valued and very popular team member at Princes Court, with his physio skills improving function, mobility and quality of life for our Mildura aged care residents and clients.

“Ammar is such a considerate and caring person and has made many friends here and is also enjoying learning our unique and colourful nuances as Australians! We have a diverse staff from more than 10 nationalities and more of our residents today were born in other countries. Adding additional cultures and assisting people from overseas to have improved future happiness is an opportunity to enhance not only our community at Princes Court retirement village in Mildura, but the larger community.

“I would certainly encourage other organisations to consider assisting individuals from overseas to fill our labour shortages in the health sector and other areas of industry,” Ms Garonne said.

The Australia and NZ Operations Manager for Talent Beyond Boundaries, Rabia Ceylan, said skilled refugees like Ammar helped fill a huge skills shortage in Australia, especially in regional areas. “Our program to source new opportunities for skilled refugees displaced by war helps them and their employers and enriches the communities they settle into. We also find they become very loyal, hard-working employees here, maximising the opportunity they have received for a fresh start.,” said Ms Ceylan.

Ammar said he loved his work and lifestyle in Australia and was seeking permanent residency. “I once worked as a physiotherapist in Syria but because of the war there, I moved to Lebanon on a temporary basis before Princes Court and Talent Beyond Boundaries found this new opportunity for me to live and work in Mildura.” Ammar says.

“I arrived in Australia two days before Christmas last year and travelled straight from Melbourne to Mildura, starting my job at Princes Court Mildura retirement village 10 days later. I had some basic English but that improved quickly once I started working here. I am very fortunate and my outlook for the future is now very positive,” he says.

“I am currently supporting my mother and two sisters in Syria and am hopeful they can join me permanently here as well. I intend to build on my physiotherapy skills and also travel around the country more so I can see more of Australia, which I’m so proud to call my home.”

Princes Court Community Living
27-29 Princes St, Mildura
03 5022 1022