Migration, Stress and the Challenges of Accessing Food: An Exploratory Study of the Experience of Recent Afghan Women Refugees in Adelaide, Australia
2. Study Design
2.2. Data Collection
2.3. Ethics Approval
2.4. Data Analysis
3.1. Trauma, Discrimination and Exclusion (in the Transition Country)
P5: We lived in rural area in Kabul and I was only able to do my education up to primary since I did not have any facilities with transportation to the school … Kabul was very unsafe place and always a war zone.
P7: … Our community get attacked by Pakistani people. I remember when I was 13 and we lived in a rural area and there was a blast and many people from my community got killed …
P4: Yeah, we lived in one of the dangerous areas of Pakistan which has been targeted for 15 years by the Taliban. We had a blast next to our land and it killed more than a hundred people at time. We had seen a lot of body parts and everything just came into our house. It was that close. So that why we thought that, no, we cannot live here anymore now, and we cannot go back to Afghanistan as well because the situation there is even worse, so we decided to move to Australia.
P8: The only employment was being a cheap labourer. Even with a university degree, employers were hesitant to employ us because of the high likelihood of being deported to Afghanistan if the rules changed.
P10: Because we were Afghani, we had less right than local people and for example for getting admission for schools there was heaps of bureaucracy work between different department … there was a big discrimination for you as an Afghani refugee. It was really hard to have any hope for your future. In schools there was a lot of discrimination and they did not want us to progress.
P10: In Iran we studied in a public school for a while then they had a rule and removed us from public school, and we had to go to private schooling which was very expensive.
P7: We did not have access to health services in our place and we had to travel to the next town and they would charge us more than the locals and we could not afford that.
3.2. Familiar Food Culture, but Food Stress (in the Transition Country)
P3: There was not much difference between Afghani and Iranian cuisine so my parents were able to adapt very easily.
P8: Food in Iran was healthy and had good quality. It was very similar to our own traditional foods.
P10: Food in Iran was really good since it was a halal food but the only problem was its price which was not affordable for families like us. Sometimes my dad did not get his salary on-time and my mother had to make a lot of compromises to her cooking ingredients. We could not afford red meat specially most of the times.
P4: We didn’t eat meat that much because meat was too expensive for us [in Pakistan]. Even the people used to say that lentil is the cheapest food that anyone can afford, but even the price of lentil have become so high that it was above the pay of a person … So, we never could not afford it.
3.3. Precariousness (in Australia)
P10: Finding an employment for us is also challenging considering we do not have local experiences and fluency in English.
P4: Still I don’t have a job. I am talking to the job seeker to try and get me a part time job, but because of my studies they are getting so much tougher and it is fulltime, so it was not possible and the job offering me was to do work in a pork factory, so we are not comfortable with it.
P4: I want to support my family. Now we are living in a rent house, so we need to buy house, that’s why I need to have a job for that.
P2: My husband and I could not survive on Centrelink money without the support of my father-in law and could not afford to rent a place to live.
P4: Over here most problems I have faced was driving. It was too difficult for me to get a driving license because we have to pay a lot for every license that we have to get. The driving test we must pay is too much, because I failed my first driving test, it was $250.
P1: In Australia we have difficulty finding a place to rent for several reasons. First, we are a big family and second, our family relies on Centrelink payment and landlords are not trusting us that we can afford their rent.
P10: In Iran if we can afford cheese or butter for our breakfast we felt that we eating like a rich people but in here we can afford to eat variety of things for example egg, jam, milk, walnut, honey all in one meal which is amazing.
P6: I live with my cousin and rely on government money to live. I can afford food shopping, but I cannot afford other shopping like clothes etc.
P1: Now that we are not living in governmental house, the rent and bills is taking up most of money and we need to watch how we spend leftover money on food and we will buy food in bulk to save some money or we will only shop at cheap markets such as Sunday market.
P7: Support for refugees to find good quality cheap food is really important as they might pay for their house, bills and education and or as an elder son they are supporting the whole family, this will leave small budget for the food.
P7: In Pakistan if we run out of a food, we will ask our neighbours because neighbours there are in relationship but here in Australia this is not possible. Here I made a lot of friends and I will ask them if I need.
3.4. An Unfamiliar Food Culture (in Australia)
P5: When I came to Australia two years ago, food was tasteless, and I even do not like the taste of water here but later on I got used to it.
P2: Chicken here is tasteless, and I don’t like that taste of dairy and egg either here and I would not eat them.
P10: I have not tasted Australian food … but my sister once has tried Sushi and she could not eat it as its odour is like a raw fish which is not pleasant for us. I do not know why this food is so popular here.
P9: We eat traditional food here in Australia. I think Australian foods are healthier, but I would prefer our own food as it is tastier.
P7: I do not know what the Australian food means, and I will eat traditional food most of times …
3.5. Challenges in Accessing Halal Food (in Australia)
P3: One of my biggest concern over coming to Australia was that I brought up in a very religious Muslim family and I am very strict about halal food and I had a big stress that how I am going to maintain it here in Australia.
P4: Even in the vegetables, they say ham flavour, so we have to check everything.
P10: We were lucky to live in a suburb (Prospect) close to Afghani shops and bakeries which have halal foods, but I have friends that they have to travel a long way from Salisbury or Elizabeth to come to shop at these places.
P9: In Australia we need to buy food that we can eat that is why we would only shop from Iranian or Afghani shops. We will eat out once a week only at Afghani restaurants.
P10: My friends from Afghanistan mainly and I have an App that you can upload your food and you can get ideas about which food you can make for your next meal.
P3: I always worry when I do not shop from Afghani supermarkets and I will check all the ingredients specially for gelatine and alcohol. I still cannot trust foods here that they are halal. I have heard that if they have a code it means that it is not halal.
P7: Whenever I go to a restaurant for example Chinese restaurant, I am not comfortable and if I ask about halal food, normally they have no idea and they will get really confused.
P1: We cannot eat in most restaurants as their food contains alcohol but in Iran, we had peace of mind when we shop or we eat outside.
4.1. The Transition Country Experience
4.2. The Australian Experience
4.3. Study Strengths and Limitations
Conflicts of Interest
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Kavian, F.; Mehta, K.; Willis, E.; Mwanri, L.; Ward, P.; Booth, S. Migration, Stress and the Challenges of Accessing Food: An Exploratory Study of the Experience of Recent Afghan Women Refugees in Adelaide, Australia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1379. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041379
Kavian F, Mehta K, Willis E, Mwanri L, Ward P, Booth S. Migration, Stress and the Challenges of Accessing Food: An Exploratory Study of the Experience of Recent Afghan Women Refugees in Adelaide, Australia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(4):1379. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041379Chicago/Turabian Style
Kavian, Foorough, Kaye Mehta, Eileen Willis, Lillian Mwanri, Paul Ward, and Sue Booth. 2020. "Migration, Stress and the Challenges of Accessing Food: An Exploratory Study of the Experience of Recent Afghan Women Refugees in Adelaide, Australia" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 4: 1379. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041379