Nine years ago, Aluel came to Australia from South Sudan with her family. At eighteen, she left home, seeking practical support from BYS to establish an independent life, then things got scary…
‘When I was pregnant, that’s when it hit home. I was crashing. It was so scary. The scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had so many questions… am I going to be homeless with my child? I thought, how do people do this? I didn’t have the support from my family to know what to do when you have a baby.
I don’t know how I would have coped if I wasn’t part of the BYS Families program. They directed me … they made sure I was okay.
Housing was the biggest thing; they helped me … apply for housing … to stay in while I had my baby.
I thought, ‘the baby’s going to break!’, he was so tiny… I didn’t know how to change a nappy … the social worker showed me … I didn’t believe I could do that.
I am a more confident person now … I’m more motivated, more driven. I have a different perspective to a lot of things, like family and just the Circle of Security … me and my social worker did a program, it talks about how a baby needs security and explains what a baby needs … filling that ‘emotional cup’… if I hadn’t done that program … I would have been like, ‘oh, why is he crying?’
A lot happens in this room [at Young Women & Young Families] … all the mothers and social workers sit here, have coffee, and talk about important issues … like childcare, Centrelink, services; we sit here and network – if I’m going through something I’m pretty sure the mum sitting next to me might have gone through it and can give me advice … we bounce good ideas off each other; in the kitchen we have a chef who cooks for us! The kids play around, in the playroom or the playground outside, with a sandpit and a swing … they really, really enjoy it.
I’ve had BYS walking right beside me and holding my hand throughout the whole process.’