Shakti Perspectives: Vano (Brown Boss Girls)
What is it like to grow up in a South Asian background in Sydney?
When we first came to Australia, I remember it felt like a different world. I was not used to the cold weather or the unfamiliar culture. We grew up in an area where there weren't many Asians/ Indians. My brother and I were the only Sri Lankans in our school. Being a minority in a country is not something that's new to me as I am a Tamilan from Sri Lanka. We knew we had to do some serious adjusting. Now that I look back, it must have been pretty tough for my parents who were in their 40's at the time. They had to start a new job, make new friends and build a new and better life for all of us and I will forever be grateful for all their sacrifices.
At school, I was subject to racial bullying, but not to the extend you hear about these days. I was fortunate enough to have a good group of friends and I feel that my experiences growing up had shaped me and made me a stronger person today. When I look back at my childhood, I have no regrets and everything to be grateful for.
Whats been your experience with mental health?
I haven't dealt with any mental health issues, but I did recently have a baby and that can challenge your mentally at times. I have a strong support of family and friends and I think that definitely helps.
What inspired the creation of BBB?
We wanted to create a platform for women to network with other like minded women. A place where they can seek support, share their goals and dreams, develop their talents and support each others' personal and professional journeys. As a BBB community, we want to inspire and encourage all women to take action and do whatever they want to do in life.
What challenges do women of colour face growing up as a minority?
We are a vibrant, multicultural country and this rich cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths. As with any multicultural country, we also face challenges because of the colour of our skin. At times you may have to work harder to show that you have what it takes to do a particular job or hold a particular title. You may miss out on some opportunities or give up on certain goals. Whatever the challenge may be, I believe in standing tall, working hard and working together.
Message of support
Surround yourself with people who bring the best out of you in life. Its good to dream big because dream gives us hope. Be a realist and stay true to yourself. Don't shy away from hard work and most importantly believe in yourself!