“I had no one to rely on, no family, no friends, not a single soul.” – Maya* (name changed to maintain privacy).
In 2015, Maya was sponsored by her Australian husband to move to Melbourne. Her dream to move to a new country and build a life with her partner quickly turned into a nightmare when he became violent, abusive, and controlling. He began to disempower her financially, emotionally and mentally, and even blocked her from bringing her children from Somalia to Australia.
Coercive control in domestic relationships is sadly becoming more and more common amongst migrant and refugee communities, leaving the abusee in a totally vulnerable state. Maya was relieved to escape the relationship, but it meant that she was left sleeping rough on a stranger’s garage floor for over two years.
Maya met the criteria to enter the Crisis Response Program at Merri Outreach Support Service in 2019, where she was assigned a specialist Case Manager named Kate. Kate has now been working with Maya over the last three years.
With Kate’s unwavering commitment to her case plan, Maya was referred to emergency housing which she has now lived in for two years.
Kate also connected Maya to a legal service that assisted her to gain sponsorship for her three children, who are now thriving in Australia. Maya’s 12-year-old son even recently won the 2021 John Carlyle Award for best student, an award which was open to all schools across the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
Kate is truly proud of how far Maya has come.
“This is what sustains you, when you see the trajectory from first meeting a client, to them achieving most of their goals,” she says.
As a Case Manager, she sees herself as an advocate – someone who connects her clients in with services to achieve their own goals, supporting them to be the captain of their own ship.
Maya has been so thankful of the support she received from Merri Outreach Support Service, that she now wants to study social work herself, to help others in the same situation she was in. At the moment she is studying English and focussing on supporting her children as best she can as a single parent.
Reflecting on her experience, she has said:
“The kind of care I received throughout this program is beyond what I asked for. I now have stability for myself and my children. For anyone in my situation, my advice is to find a supporter that really seeks to understand you and your needs – in Kate, I have found the best supporter I could have ever hoped for. I see MOSS as an organisation that truly helps people when they are at their worst.”
Our vision at MOSS is to end homelessness, but we can’t do it without your help. Funds ensure that our services continue to operate.
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