Hope through housing

Yasmine* was expecting her first baby when she decided to flee from her home in Myanmar to escape widespread violence, murder and rape. After months of travel, she and her three-month-old son arrived in Australia with nothing and they found themselves homeless.

“After a harrowing journey across Malaysia and Indonesia, it took three months to arrive in Australia. We often had no food or water and occupied spaces with no air like containers, trucks and fishing boats with tarpaulins. I had to trek the jungle in Indonesia and was covered in leeches. Once we travelled on a bus for a week and weren’t allowed to leave our seats unless we needed to use the on-board toilet. We feared for our lives and at every stage of the journey we had to pay more money. We spent all our savings.”

While sleeping on the streets with her son, a total stranger in Melbourne took them to a police station and from there she was referred to the Red Cross. Eventually she reached Baptcare and the Houses of Hope project.

Houses of Hope provided Yasmine with accommodation and access to support services such as English classes, social support, employment, food bank and furniture donations to help empower her and provide her with an opportunity to live an independent life in the Australian community.

Today, five years after arriving in Australia, Yasmine is awaiting the outcome of her protection visa (and as a result has no income) and is successfully integrating into the local community with her son now attending primary school. She says “having a house and somewhere to stay with my son has given me much hope. Baptcare has provided me with a caseworker and a volunteer who sees me weekly and helps with going to my appointments. They also provide food and food vouchers.”

“I would like to say thank you to Baptcare and everyone who has helped me. I had nothing, I was living on the street, I wasn’t sure about my future and Baptcare helped me with so many things and gave me hope that one day I would feel like this is our home.”

Learn more about the Houses of Hope project here.

*name has been changed to protect privacy