South Asian Heritage Month: Komal's 'journey of empire'
We're marking South Asian Heritage Month in many ways at EPUT. This year's theme is 'Journeys of Empire' and, as part of our celebrations for the month, Komal Dayani, Mental Health Nurse who has joined us as a result of our international recruitment programme shared details of her heritage:
'Thinking about celebrating South Asian Heritage Month has brought back memories of my life in Pakistan. As a child, I observed my mother work as a community midwife and help hundreds of women in our community. Watching her save lives inspired and motivated me to pursue a career in nursing.
'As a student, and later as a nurse intern, I came across diverse individuals and groups from various communities and hospital settings. It allowed me to live through their experiences and understand their challenges through empathy. As a result of those encounters and experiences, I was intrigued by the effects of those challenges on the mental health of those individuals.
'Little did I know that mental health would turn into my passion. I lived in a developing country where resources are scant, and the stigma attached to mental health has made the services almost inaccessible. I was given opportunities to work in inpatient psychiatry settings in Pakistan, as well as the community mental health setting. Every person was unique; therefore, it was necessary to approach each person in a unique way, which was both tough and gratifying. Working with children and young people who had mental health concerns was what I most loved doing. I developed my ability to help them with empathy and unwavering admiration. It was only after those experiences, I realised my desire to help improve the healthcare system in Pakistan. That's when I joined the innovation fellowship program at university and eventually pursued a master's degree in global mental health.
'I have discovered that I am reliving those memories as I begin my new job as a mental health nurse at EPUT. I live and work with individuals from many walks of life, like those from South Asia and Africa. Being more receptive to these kinds of experiences is difficult yet exciting all at the same time. Without a doubt, EPUT has significantly facilitated this situation by giving me a home away from home and friends that I see as my family. My professional and academic experiences in Pakistan and the United Kingdom thus far have shaped me into the person I am today. In the honour of South Asian Heritage Month, I embrace and accept all aspects of who I am today, and I look forward to more similar experiences in the future.'