A Walk In My Shoes

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There is always room for improvement. If we work in an agency that we ourselves would not access for our own children, then we must let go of the old way of doing business. Be honest - admit your limitations. For families and professionals, this requires trust and mutual respect. To do this requires unlimited patience, integrity, and at times restraint.

It requires us to monitor our internal thoughts and feelings and carefully take great risks in being vulnerable in front of others. Whenever families and professionals meet, we pretend there is an imaginary box just outside the door of the meeting place. Each individual must leave his or her degree, title, role, and agency affiliation in this box prior to entering the room. Once each person walks through the threshold of the room, he or she becomes an equal player.

It is only then that the work can begin.

As people, we all have strengths and challenges. We must be open to exploring these within each other and ourselves. We must be true to ourselves by acknowledging our similarities while working through our differences. We must be certain to move beyond the personal in order to work toward the common goal.

This task of putting personal feelings aside and working toward a common goal sounds easy, but it has proven to be very difficult for us. Sometimes we take several steps forward on the journey only to take one back. It is important to acknowledge how hard the work is and never to lose sight of the common vision. There have been many times when, as family-professional partners, we have relied on each other for feedback on areas needing improvement in order for the change process to move forward.

Remember that it is always easier to go back to the old familiar ways of doing things than it is to do something completely new and different. This is why a relationship built on mutual trust and respect is so important. When your community reaches the stage where families feel safe enough to be honest and express themselves and their point of view - no matter how difficult it may be to hear - then you know you are on your way! Face your fears and discuss them mutually.

One of the greatest things about developing family-professional partnerships is that you discover you share the same fears. The first fear to acknowledge is the fear of failure; the second is the fear of success. It may sound ironic to say that the two largest fears to confront and address are the fears of failure and success. However, it has been our experience that these fears are very real as we try to implement changes in the system by creating effective parent-professional partnerships.

Fear of failure - When we know in our minds what a successful system of care would look like in an ideal world, we can become paralyzed by this vision. It is important to remember that professionals and families are doing things that have never been done before in their community, and they often must make things up as they go. This requires flexibility and the acknowledgement that there may not be a right or wrong way of accomplishing a task. It is necessary to accept the ambiguity of the situation and move on despite minor imperfections.

As families, we have often heard all about what we have done wrong and where we have failed our children, and we blame ourselves for our children's problems. So when we hear about a promising way of being involved in improving the way we receive assistance, we are skeptical. When we are hired to work as parent professionals, we begin to feel pressure to succeed in order to prove ourselves worthy of the work. We put undue pressure on ourselves to know all, and we become afraid of asking for help for fear that professionals will question our abilities. We feel we must work harder in order to become equal players in the workplace, because we are used to being blamed and shamed.

We carry the burden of representing all families through our own individual work. We often fear that if we become too familiar with the bureaucracy by forming effective partnerships with professionals, we will lose our ability to be effective advocates for change and will become token voices. For professionals, bringing family voice and choice into the bureaucracy is threatening. We fear that our peers will think we have betrayed them by allowing family members to witness the strengths and weaknesses of the bureaucracy in action. Our initial reaction is to want to protect family members from the realities of the day-to-day struggles of operating in a large public system.

In reality, as a professional, I have found that it can be beneficial to have a parent there to support me as I work within the system. Fear of success - The second fear to acknowledge is the fear of success. Both families and public mental health professionals are used to thriving in systems that are constantly changing, frequently operating from crisis to crisis, and often criticized as inefficient, unsuccessful, or ineffective. Although these modes of operation may seem atypical to the casual observer, to many families and professionals they are considered typical modes of functioning.

As a result, when something comes along that promises positive changes to this "normalcy," the initial reaction is fear. This fear comes from the reality that many of us have not lived or worked in environments that have been considered successful. To be successful is an unknown mode of operation.

We must develop a mutual vision for what success would look like for our community and work as partners toward celebrating the successes when they arrive - one step at a time. Sharing our fears with one another reminds us that in order to support each other in the work, we must present a unified front when faced with situations that threaten our ability to be successful. This means that we should attend meetings together as a parent-professional team and not make decisions without the mutual input and recommendations from parents and professionals as equals.

This requires us to confront each other when we see that we are letting our fears overwhelm and paralyze us. Discuss your expectations and assumptions. One of the most helpful steps in forming family-professional partnerships is understanding and acknowledging expectations spoken and unspoken , assumptions, and preconceived notions about one another.

Once this dialogue occurs, we discover that parents and professionals harbor the same expectations of each other, expectations based on the values of honesty, dignity, and respect. This step in the process is even more important when parents and professionals work together on a daily basis as peers. For example, to many professionals and traditional systems, the idea of hiring a parent into a position that pays the same salary as a licensed professional is absurd.

As a result, unexpected bureaucratic obstacles may be in place to prevent the hiring process from occurring. In addition, many traditional bureaucracies are built on a hierarchical system of management, with supervision coming from the top down. Consequently, when a parent is hired to fill a management role, the bureaucracy expects the person to be supervised by a professional.

Walk in my Shoes - Film Screenings - Theater of Witness

The professional must be willing to break out of the traditional mode of operation and partner with the parent to advocate for change as a team. Parents and professionals should talk openly with one another about why these expectations, assumptions, and notions are there in order to seek to understand and then change the way business is done. It is the responsibility of both the parent and the professional to promote the success of the partnership by providing support, education, training, and technical assistance to each other.

This requires open communication between the individuals regarding what is expected. Admit to the anger, frustration, pain, and disappointments of the past and redirect those feelings to use them in a positive way. This step in the process is crucial in beginning to form effective family-professional partnerships. It is often difficult for professionals to hear families speak in strong, angry voices about how the system has failed to meet their needs or how they have suffered because their children did not receive appropriate services. It is often difficult to know how to respond in these situations.

You may feel compelled to become defensive or go into detail about why the system was unable to deliver. As a representative of the system, you must take responsibility for failing to meet the families' needs and ask for their assistance in changing the system for the better. At this point, it is crucial for you to walk in the families' shoes. Families are more than happy to provide input into being part of the solution - especially if they are listened to and their pain has been acknowledged. What I hated: The flashbacks! The first half of this book is smeared with flashback's from Nessa's life back in Afghanistan and her escape.

The constant flashbacks are jarring to the story and aggravating to read. I felt like the story was constantly getting interrupted. The flashbacks were not told in any sort of order and often different flashback from the same experience were told. So a flashback of Nessa's experience using the restrooms on the ship from Indonesia to Australia would be told and then pages later I might read about the storm that happened on the same ship. I don't understand why the author couldn't had three parts of this book and told Nessa's experience in Afghanistan and subsequent escape first.

It would have made it a MUCH more enjoyable read and a much more suspenseful read as well. I didn't understand why this book ended where it ended either. It ended at a point where I was most curious to see how the characters dealt with a certain situation. In the end, I had to just be happy reading the afterward which told the reader what happened to the characters. This story probably would have been rated four stars because of the interesting topic and likable characters.

However, the flashbacks were so annoying that I wanted to rate it two stars. They significantly slowed down towards the end of the story and so I hesitantly decided to rate the book three stars. Aug 16, H. Stephens rated it liked it. Living in Australia, we hear a lot about 'boat people'. As such it's a very relevant issue and a topic that I was immediately interested in reading. Though the book does have a very simplistic tone, it suits the story of a child; uncertain as to where her future is going, in a foreign land and bombarded with a language an custom she has nothing to compare to.

An emotional read, I would recommend this book to anyone living in Australia or to someone having anything to do with refugees.

Walk in My Shoes

This book Living in Australia, we hear a lot about 'boat people'. This book really gets inside the heads of these people and describes their experiences with stunning detail.

The only thing I found unsatisfactory in this story was a few factual errors. For example, it is mention somewhere that Nessa's family and other refugees 'pray to Muhammad'.

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Muslims do not 'pray' to Muhammad. But apart from little technicalities like this, Walk In My Shoes was a very enjoyable and inspiring read. Jul 31, Aishah rated it liked it. Walk in my Shoes by Alwyn Evans. This was. One of the most inspiring books I have ever read. I am normally interested in these types of books, about refugees and detainees. This book not only offers the perplex give of a refugee escaping from a war-filled country, but it also gives us an example about fitting into the Australian society. This book had great descriptions and at times brought me to tears, making me feel like Gulnessa.

I rated this book three stars, although I really liked it, there were some factual mistakes. As a Muslim, I know the laws and regulations of Islam. It is alright to be a Muslim and an Australian, follow the Islamic customs and fit in.

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Some of the other facts is that Muslims pray to God not to Muhammad. That is a major mistake. The author should have taken more care in the religion. On the other hand, I would this book to anyone. It is a great book and really makes you walk in Gulnessa's shoes. May 05, Meagan rated it it was amazing. I loved every moment of this book, I really felt with Nessa and her family: I was scared during the flashbacks to Afghanistan, sick on the boat from Indonesia and frustrated in the the detention centre. I've heard a lot of complaints about the flashbacks to Nessa's life throughout the book.

The story is not told in a linear fashion but is fragmented and follows Nessa's train of thought. I liked this becuase it actually felt like I was in Nessa's mind. People do not reminisce about their past in I loved every moment of this book, I really felt with Nessa and her family: I was scared during the flashbacks to Afghanistan, sick on the boat from Indonesia and frustrated in the the detention centre. People do not reminisce about their past in chrnological order; memories are sparked by small moments or triggers in the present. To me, this made the book more real.

Read it, read it, read it - this book made me want to work with refugees in Australia, which is why I now study social work. It's brilliant. Mar 16, Kirstie rated it liked it. Young adult novel about the experience of a fictional, but based on real-life interviews refugee girl from Afghanistan. It tracks a family's experience through people smuggling, detention camp and finally integration into the Australian community.

By and large it succeeds in its aim to put a human face on refugees, but it suffers from being slightly too long and losing narrative traction in the latter half although the romance aspect may keep younger readers motivated through that part - it l Young adult novel about the experience of a fictional, but based on real-life interviews refugee girl from Afghanistan.

By and large it succeeds in its aim to put a human face on refugees, but it suffers from being slightly too long and losing narrative traction in the latter half although the romance aspect may keep younger readers motivated through that part - it lost me as being too simplistic at that point. Also, the ending has an abrupt 'twist' which isn't well resolved and results in a rather messy conclusion - it doesn't allow time for new issues raised to be explored. But overall very readable. Jan 17, Alison rated it really liked it. Living in Australia and being surrounded by the issue of "boat people", this book hits quite close to home.

Anyone who thinks the government is acting in Australia's or anyone's best interest with its current policies should read this book. It made me ashamed even to think that my tax dollars are going towards camps like that. Criminals in prison are treated better. As for the story itself, it flowed quite well, the only problem being that it seemed to slow down in part 2 and the love story and Living in Australia and being surrounded by the issue of "boat people", this book hits quite close to home.

As for the story itself, it flowed quite well, the only problem being that it seemed to slow down in part 2 and the love story and lingering questions around that are the main thing that kept up momentum. So, a lot like many other stories, then. Overall, a good read and very enlightening. Jan 13, Gemma Wiseman rated it really liked it Shelves: casey-grammar-library. Nessa's Afghanistan was a tortured world, a world living the fear of The Terror. And the fear stays alive in her mind, even when her family ventures to the Australian unknown, seeking some kind of freedom and life.

Like some ugly Medusa, old realities become nightmares, recurring in jagged, disjointed fragments. But the land of "red dirt and blue sky" heals the thirsting spirit - slowly. Aug 05, Salome rated it did not like it. This book was literally the worst I have ever read. I would only recommend it if you as a reader enjoy huge paragraphs of infuriatingly dry descriptive language and a frustratingly knowledgeable twelve year old!

AsI forced myself to read the novel, painstakingly draaaaagging my eyes across this horrendous compilation of bland letters, I struggled to keep myself from dozing off! In complete honestly, I would rather shove red-hot, Tetanus infused nails into my eyeballs, than be forced to ever read This book was literally the worst I have ever read. In complete honestly, I would rather shove red-hot, Tetanus infused nails into my eyeballs, than be forced to ever read this monstrosity again!

Walking in My Shoes

View 1 comment. Jul 01, Victoria rated it liked it. A story about refugees in early 's when they were locked up in camps in the australia desert. The reasons for escaping Afghanistan, the journey to get to Aust, the length of time in detention, their eventual release on TPVs and finally full citizenship. The hardships, emotional trauma we can never comprehend. Told through the eyes of a 13 year old girl. A fictional story, however the author had gathered many real life stories from refugees in Perth and their plights.

Its a decent read. May 13, Rebecca rated it liked it. Interesting story, illuminating the plight of refugees, particularly 'boat people' who enter Australia illegally. The story Is told from the perspective of a young girl and her family fleeing from the terrors and chaos of Afghanistan. Not a bad read, but not a page-turner either Jun 29, Erin rated it really liked it. A pretty good book. I enjoyed the second half - seeing the family settle into life in Australia was rewarding after all the hell they went through up to that point.

May 12, Emily rated it it was amazing. This book is a touching read The minute I layed eyes on the words I was instantly touched by Gulnessa and her family You feel like you are in her tragic world for the whole book. I cried during some parts of the book. May 10, Dawn rated it really liked it. This book was what got me interested in working with Refugees. Dec 23, Krystal rated it did not like it.

Very dreary and drags on, I found myself skipping through sentences. However, this could be intentional, so as to display the feeling of boredom in the camps.


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Mar 19, Camila Machado rated it it was amazing.



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