Evelyn Chatikobo took a huge leap when she moved her young family to Australia to escape the crumbling economy of her home, Zimbabwe in 2008. She had big dreams and despite a background in accounting she decided to pursue a degree in midwifery at the University of Newcastle’s Port Macquarie campus.
Obstacles quickly appeared on Evelyn’s journey to become a midwife. Upon her arrival in Australia, she had to quickly learn resilience to deal with cultural differences.
“I never imagined when we left a multicultural Africa that in our new home we would be living as ‘minority’,” Evelyn said.
One month into her degree, she found out she was pregnant. And on top of that, illness in the family struck.
“My mum fell very sick and completing the degree seemed impossible,” Evelyn said.
To keep up with her studies and family obligations, Evelyn was more determined than ever, and successfully gained her qualifications in 2020.
“Thanks to the resilience and determination of the African in me, I completed my degree,” Evelyn said.
Evelyn credits the support of her classmates plus the midwives, doctors, and mothers that allowed her to grow into the midwife she can happily call herself today.
“The highlight from my time at university and in the hospital setting was realising how my knowledge and skills had gradually increased over time. I transitioned from feeling clueless in the wards, to caring for the expectant mothers all on my own.”
Evelyn says the University of Newcastle supported her throughout her degree and she looks forward to the future.
“I hope my graduation inspires someone out there to go for their dreams, regardless of their background, ethnicity, hurdles and circumstances,” Evelyn said.
“I hope to be the kind of midwife all women deserve to have.”
Evelyn has accepted a position as a midwife at Port Macquarie Base Hospital.