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RACHAEL STRICK

CUSTODIAL OFFICER, BRISBANE CORRECTIONAL CENTRE

In conversation with Liana Modolo.

When did you start working for QCS, what led you to this career path?
I started working for QCS in 2012. I had spent the previous six years at home with my children and when I was ready to return to work, I wanted to find a career where I was able to give something back to the community. I was ready for a challenge and something a little different, which led me to apply for the job as a custodial correctional officer.

What is an average day “in the office” for you?
A normal day for me as a correctional officer can be anything from operating a control room, managing a unit with over 50 prisoners, right through to responding to an emergency. The great thing about this job is that no two days are the same. Whilst there is a daily routine, the variety comes from working with a cross section of cultures and backgrounds, not just with prisoners, but with colleagues too.

What are the most challenging/rewarding parts of your job?
Working in a prison comes with its challenges, but the rewards can be great too. It is very much about teamwork and keeping each other and the prisoners safe. On any given day you can spend up to 12 hours with your colleagues and in the environment in which we work, having confidence in one another is an important part of it. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the great team we have at Brisbane Correctional Centre.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am an avid hiker and recently completed a trek to Everest base camp and Kalapatthar. I was lucky enough to return from Nepal five days before the earthquake. It was heartbreaking to learn the very people who helped me, and others, achieve success on my trek are now without homes as a result of the earthquake.

I understand you are involved in a fundraising effort for Nepal?
Yes, I am. One of the areas affected the most, and one of the closest to the epicentre of the earthquake, is the district of Gorkha where thousands remain without shelter, food and medicine. I have chosen to support Gorkha, as this is the district where my guide is from, along with many of the guides and porters that work for the trekking company I travelled with.

I have set a fundraising goal of $10,000 and to date we have raised $2,155. Over the course of the next few weeks I will continue to seek donations and host a few different events and raffles to assist with my efforts.

At my own cost, I will return to Nepal at the end of June for two weeks and all money raised will be taken directly to the district of Gorkha and dispersed with the assistance of local NGO Sambhav Nepal. I will team up with some fellow trekkers who have been raising funds in the US and our plan is to visit several of the villages and take food and temporary shelters so that the locals are able to get through the monsoon season in July and August.

I have chosen to partner with the Nepali government-registered NGO Sambhav Nepal (www.sambhavnepal.org), as it has an excellent track record of eight years working to achieve reforms in education and health and to improve living conditions in the villages of Gorkha. The NGO was active prior to the earthquake and has integrity, local knowledge and local contacts. Any donors to my campaign can be confident that their donation will be used wisely and well.