Almost 10 years ago, Thu began teaching her four-year-old daughter with the help of the Brotherhood’s Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters, or HIPPY. A home tutor visited Thu at home to help her prepare her child for school.
Like many new parents, Thu, who’s originally from Vietnam, had needed new skills when her daughter was born. She began taking her daughter to a playgroup run by the Brotherhood. There she heard about the HIPPY program, which she joined in order to give her daughter a head start in her education.
The early learning program for preschoolers and their parents was so useful that Thu became a home tutor herself, visiting other families in turn with new books, games and exercises.
‘The first time I sat down with parents I was nervous about my English, but I remember HIPPY helped me with my English. It also built up my confidence. I was very shy before but now I feel okay about working with other people.’
Thu’s path from parent to home tutor is a common one in HIPPY. Tutors also often work with parents from the same ethnic community as themselves. They also train to the level of Certificate III or IV. For many, it builds confidence, qualifications and work skills that stand them in good stead for future employment.
Thu attained a Certificate III in Children’s Services and has just completed a Diploma of Early Child Care. She now has a job with the Brotherhood’s Connie Benn Centre, where her skills, training and ability to work with Vietnamese-Australian children in their home language, are highly valued.
As well as giving her a career path, Thu’s work with the Brotherhood has given her a place in her local community even as the HIPPY children she used to visit grow up. ‘Because I live in this area, the HIPPY kids see me and yell out “Thu!” and wave at me. They say “Come to my house and we’ll have dinner!”’