Dr Shamaruh Mirza is a medical scientist, but she knows that feeling connected and having someone to talk to is as important as any medicine for good health.
Originally from Bangladesh, Shamaruh was seeing a lot of women dealing with depression as she did volunteer work among culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups in Canberra.
Wanting to give women of diverse backgrounds a safe space in which to discuss their challenges and gain confidence, she co-founded SiTara’s Story in 2017. It would be somewhere women could discuss stigmatised topics without fear, form support networks and empower themselves.
The volunteer-run not-for-profit now organises workshops, talk shops, seminars and creative competitions that support CALD women to discuss mental health, disability, domestic violence, self-care and skill development. In 2021, the organisation was awarded the ACT Mental Health Month award.
Shamaruh was herself a finalist in the Canberra Community Spirits Award 2021.