A YOUNG mum who moved from Uganda to Australia with her husband almost three years ago has found her place in the Lismore community through study and work.
Aline Pendeza, a 26-year-old mum of two young children was over the moon to complete her Certificate III in Children's Services last year with ACE Community Colleges in the Stepping Stones course, a social inclusion project offered free to young mothers aged 18-24.
While Mrs Pendeza spoke some English when she began the course, she said the biggest benefit had been improving her English significantly and developing confidence.
After completing her traineeship with First Steps childcare centre in Lismore last year, she's now working for them five days a week.
"I love children and want to work with children - they make me happy," Mrs Pendeza said.
"You can't get stressed or upset when you work with children - they make you laugh."
She said she would definitely recommend the course to others from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
"The course was fun and practical and I enjoyed learning about child development.
"I got lots of help with my English and am much better now and have more confidence, and a qualification."
Cathryn McMillan, one of Mrs Pendeza's trainers, said "the difference in Aline is huge - when she started at the centre she was very quiet but now she communicates better and you can see the confidence in her".
Margaret Cassidy from ACE said that the Stepping Stones course made a huge difference to the lives of all who participated as they began to network with other young mums and find friendship and support.