Felisha Thain has been on a personal journey over the past year learning about her Somali culture, so it was a welcome surprise when she received a Pegasus Health Scholarship.
Felisha plans to become a clinical psychologist and is currently completing a Post-Graduate Diploma in Psychology at Canterbury University. She says the scholarship has been “super helpful”.
“I have been studying for a long time, so it’s been a huge financial help.”
Felisha began her studies in 2014 completing a Bachelor of Psychology with Honors, before starting her PhD in 2018, which she has almost finished, and then this year went on to start the post-grad diploma that she will complete in 2024.
“I have always had a fascination with people in general and why they make the decisions they make, and, although it is cliché, I always had a desire to help people and that combined nicely into psychology.”
Raised by her mother, Felisha has never met her father who is Somali. About a year ago she decided to reach out to the Somali community through social media which led to an introduction to Sahra Ahmed at Pegasus Health who by chance knew her father and was able to connect them.
“The closer I got to clinical psychology, where we are working with patients and having to understand people and the importance of culture in their lives, the more important it became to me to learn about my own culture.”
They have since been in touch by phone and her journey to understand her culture and get to know her father has helped spark a desire to work with migrant and refugee communities.
“As I’ve become more in touch with my culture, I’ve become more interested in helping ethnic minority groups in general. I have greater understanding now of what it might be like for someone from an ethnic minority and the extra barriers they face across the board, accessing support and things like that.
“I’ve come to understand that they have unique needs and our systems here are so stretched – I want to be able to help address that.”
Cover image: Felisha Thain (centre) shown here receiving her scholarship certificate from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Health Advisory
Deputy Chair Vibhuti Patel (left) and CALD Health Advisory Group Chair Sade Iposu,(right)
Read the full September newsletter.