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Because of her, we can!

05 July 2018, Action for Change

Celebrating NAIDOC Week: Because of her, we can

This week, in recognition of the NAIDOC theme of ‘Because of her, we can!’, we celebrate some remarkable women who play a significant role in driving our work around Australia. 

Every day, more than 125 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women work in Save the Children’s programs around Australia. They support more than 3,400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and women to build stronger lives, families and communities.

Meet Bec

Bec works in Save the Children’s programs in far-north Queensland. A proud Wiradjuri woman, her great-great grandfather was King Billy Pye, a legendary figure in Aboriginal activism. 

Sadly, Bec came to understand domestic violence from a young age. 

“Domestic violence took my mother away,” she says. “But she never once thought about running and leaving us kids with it. And I think, so my mother didn’t die in vain, this is why I want to spread the word: That it’s not OK and we can stand up together and do something.”

“It is OK to be strong now. Cause people are listening. And that gives me most joy.”

As a domestic and family violence specialist, Bec helps women reconnect with their spirit and helps show children ‘there is another way’.

“I have many strong women in my life… And it was because of them, that I can,” she says. “I have three daughters and I hope one day they say, ‘Because of her, we can’.”


Meet Marsha

When Marsha was five years old, she was removed from the care of her grandparents in Mount Isa to start a new life with a side of the family she didn’t know. She doesn’t remember a lot before that day, but she’ll never forget the pain of being taken away.
 
Image: Robert McKechnie/Save the Children


Marsha grew up in Brisbane with her loving Aunt and Uncle but always missed the connection with her aboriginal heritage in the bush.  “I always wanted to come back and work here in some way. I really missed how you’re really connected to everyone. It’s a really close-knit community.”

Marsha now works with the Ready Together program at Save the Children's Dumaji Children and Family Support Centre, helping young kids and their families prepare for the transition to school. 

“It really does make me proud to be part of something that’s going to help change this community for the better.”

Because of Marsha, we can.

Meet Trisha 

Trisha is a Financial Capability Worker for Save the Children at our Mornington Island Children and Family Centre. 

Image: Robert McKechnie/Save the Children


“This is the only financial service on the island. I work with clients on basic banking and transfers, setting them up for internet and telephone banking and helping them manage their budgets.”

The Financial Wellbeing program has assisted more than 420 families since it began in 2012. Trisha says it’s having more of an impact than she ever imagined.

“I just love helping people and making them feel happy about themselves.”

Because of Trisha, we can. 

Meet Isabel

Isabel Toby is the Centre Manager at Doomadgee’s Children and Family Centre in the Gulf Region, far north Queensland. Things have changed a bit at the centre since she began seven years ago.

‚ÄčImage: Robert McKechnie/Save the Children

“We didn't have a building. We used to go by the river and have our staff meetings,” she says. “It took two years for all our programs to grow because we had to build the trust and respect with the people of our community. 

Isabel's ethos is that no one gets left behind. If a family needs help, she will do everything in her power to support them.  

“Our centre is open to anyone, no matter who they are or where they come from.”


Because of Isabel, we can. 

Meet Montana 

Meet Montana. Montana is a social worker with Save the Children and advises state and federal governments on issues affecting youth in the Kimberley. 
 
Image: Save the Children

Before becoming a social worker, Montana was in a very different place. After stints at four boarding schools, she dropped out of school at the age of 15. After her adoptive father passed away, she decided to turn her life around.  

Montana got back on track and enrolled in a pre-employment program and secured a traineeship. In 2016, she won the NAIDOC Apprentice of the Year award. This year, she received an email from the Australian Government inviting her to participate in the 17th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, to be held at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.  

Because of Montana, we can.  

Meet Aunty Joy

This is Aunty Joy. Aunty Joy helped set up Save the Children's Early Childhood Care and Development Program in South Australia. Despite being in her 70s and having changed the lives of thousands of children throughout her 40-year career, Aunty Joy is showing no signs of slowing down. 
 

Image: Save the Children

Aunty Joy provides an outlet for families to enjoy time with their children while also acting as a mentor to younger staff. In 2017, she provided over 100 children with early learning opportunities who otherwise may not have had access due to their remote location. 

“I believe all parents want the best for their children but many families face difficulties and this means some children get off to a rough start in life,” she says. “I know through my own experience that helping children get a healthy start and letting them have fun and learn means they can become confident and capable adults later in life.” 

Because of Aunty Joy, we can.  
 

If you need support, contact 1800RESPECT (domestic and family violence counselling service) 1800 737 732; No to Violence (men’s referral service) 1300 766 491; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; or Lifeline 13 11 14. For emergencies, ring 000.

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