Every week the SunnyKids team meet families that have had experiences that are traumatic, heart-breaking and sometimes incomprehensible for those of us who live seemingly privileged lives in which we have somewhere to sleep, food to eat and clothes to wear that are suitable for the season.
Recently we had a Mum “Anna” and her children come to the refuge - they were homeless, had experienced significant domestic and family violence and were scared and traumatised. Quite frankly they had only just been surviving life prior to coming to the refuge. Each of her children had complex and special needs with no active services or support networks in place to assist any of them.
After a short time at the refuge, Anna began to share some of the realisations she was having – about herself, her children and others. She saw how her life had become what it was and became determined to make positive change putting protective boundaries in place to make sure that her and her children were always safe from harm and the negativity of others - their opinions, demands, and expectations.
Anna, who had previously been engaging community services for support began to re-establish relationships and create new support networks through the help of the SunnyKids team. With her support team in place Anna found a new resolve and began setting goals. Her first priority was to find a permanent home for her family.
Anna was proactive in her mission and began looking at 3-4 properties a week. And a lack of transport didn’t stop her - she would take buses, taxis, and at times even one of the children’s bikes if needed to make it to an inspection. Last week Anna and her children were granted housing from the Department of Housing and have now left the refuge to safely and confidently begin the next stage of their life journey.
On leaving the refuge Anna was reflective and a little apprehensive stating “it is hard to leave this place, as you all have become like family to me.”