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Sarah, from ‘Houses to Homes’ – A CatholicCare program assisting young mothers facing homelessness, and who are often fleeing domestic violence – was interviewed for the launch. Sarah, a young migrant and now mother, was pregnant, isolated and alone when she was first received by CatholicCare’s “Houses to Homes” program. The following interview details her experience and journey, and was recorded and played at Parramatta Catholic Foundation’s pre-launch dinner. Here are some excerpts from the transcript. Names and images have been changed to protect their identity.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Sarah, I’m 26 years old, and my baby girl is 6 months.
What advice would you give other young mothers facing homelessness?
Find professional help, there is a lot of help out there. Don’t face it alone, it’s difficult.
What’s your wish?
I did at one stage wish they gave my baby to another family, because when you are in a problem, you can’t see your own strengths, and you become hopeless. But if you can get someone to listen to you, that way you find your own strength, and that is what happened to me. I felt so helpless and was thinking I could never take care of a child. I was even thinking I might be in a mental hospital and they might take my baby. When I get those who helped me, they talked to me, they find there is something good in me. That’s my wish.
How did CatholicCare provide a helping hand?
I was homeless, I was hopeless, I had no family, I didn’t have friend. They understand me, they know that I’m in a problem, they know that I need help.
They give me safe place to live when I was in labor. The manager she went with me. It was a long labor, it was like 2 days. We slept there, she slept with me there. She was with me like family. I wasn’t expecting that. I was thinking that I would be lonely. But I wasn’t, they were there for me like a family. They even come midnight, I can call them anytime. They come and settle my baby.
What’s in store for the future?
Diploma in community service work. I’m thinking of doing next year (2018).
Why do you want to give back to the community?
First of all I like helping people, because I see myself, I get help and now I am a better person. No woman hates her own child. But if there is no hope, you, they, do bad things to the child and they do bad things to their own self. So the services are very important.
How did you experience hope and love at CatholicCare?
I have no family, I don’t have anybody who knows my background, I don’t even have anyone who speaks my language, who can talk with me. Yes, so when I get this help, it just helped me like a family. I’m even better than before my pregnancy. Before I was so lonely, now I think my baby also she feels my heart.
On behalf of everyone at Parramatta Catholic Foundation and CatholicCare, thank you for providing a second chance.