She came as one among the thousands of students from India to study in an Australian university. But just after completing her studies in a nursing course in University of Wollongong in New South Wales Sharon Varghese has become a shining star due to her tireless support to vulnerable elders in an aged care facility in Wollongong during the last few months when the Covid 19 impact was the maximum in Australia.
Her contribution was so high that the famous cricketer Adam Gilchrist gave a shout out to Sharon Varghese through a twitter handle by Austrade, the Australian Government agency recently which went viral.
In the videoclip the former Australian cricket captain Adam Gilchrist says” I was delighted to hear of the act of kindness by Sharon Varghese, an Indian student in Australia. Sharon was a student at the University of Wollongong. And during the COVID-19 pandemic she gave up her time to act as an aged-care worker throughout that time. Sharon, I want to say congratulations on your selfless act”
“All of Australia, all of India and more importantly your family will be so immensely proud of your efforts. Congratulations, thank you and please keep it up because we are all in this together” said Gilchrist acknowledging this great and timely support coming from the Indian student Sharon Varghese, who is just 19 years young.
Indian Telegraph spoke to Sharon Varghese
IT: Please tell about yourself and your journey as an international student of Indian background
SV: My family is from Kottayam district in Kerala. We have been living in Kuwait. My mother is a registered nurse in one of the hospitals and my father is a civil engineer. I have a brother and sister in India. I came as an international student exactly three years and three months ago. I studied the Bachelor of Nursing Course with the University of Wollongong and completed the course in December.
IT: How did your journey as a nurse began in Australia?
SV: As soon as I finished, I got an opportunity to work in the age care sector with an established aged care residential facility in Wollongong itself. On an average we have about 70 to 80 residents from various multicultural communities. There have medical facilities in the premises. So, when the Covid 19 crisis broke out, I was asked if I could serve there as a residential nurse as there were shortage of nurses. I had a choice of going back to India but thought it was a great opportunity to serve the vulnerable section of the elders as many of them had dementia. Hence, I stayed with them. At the aged-care facility, all safety precautions were taken care with provision of masks, aprons, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits
IT: So, in addition to nursing care, you were also providing Covid 19 care?
SV: It was a total lockdown. Families were stopped from coming. We were also needed to ensure isolation. It was particularly an emotional time for patients, treating staff like me and families. It was a tough phase. I developed a bonding with the patients and their families.
IT: Any other thoughts to share or messages to other International Students
SV: I would like to continue to stay in Australia and serve the community here. I also want to go back to India and serve the rural community there. What I want to say to my fellow international students is “This is a very tough, emotional and challenging period for the community. If you can do any single thing to make someone happy, it will make a huge difference to their life. Coming from India, where we have this motto “Aditi Devo Bhava” meaning “Respect All the guests like Gods”. Bringing a difference to someone’s life through community service will be quite satisfying. The Indian Telegraph congratulates Sharon Varghese who is a role model as an international student from India and making the community proud in multicultural Australia.