I barely remember the interview I attended with Australian authorities about gaining refugee status. I was very quiet and my step-brother did all the talking for me. I had to stay for another 1.5 years in Guinea until my case was finalised and in 2013 I came to Australia. I underwent a refugee settlement program through Multicultural Australia (formerly Multicultural Development Australia) and start attending Milpera State High School. It was extremely difficult to adapt to a new country, culture, education and learn the ropes of social behaviors in a community, that was totally different to the one I grew up in.
The household I lived in at the time was unsafe and turbulent. I ended up living in the tent at the backyard of one of the community “aunties” before I’ve been referred to Inspire Youth Services for transitional accommodation and youth support services. I still remember the feeling of clarity, safety and care after meeting with my case manager Tracey. First time in my life I had a safe place to stay and I had a plan. IYS case manager would meet me regularly to help me create my future goals and ensure they are achievable and would lead to an independent life.
I made real progress within the last few years. I enrolled and successfully completed a Diploma of Community Services! I’ve also received my driving license and got full-time employment as a Support Worker. Through my work, I can finally give back to the community and organisations, who helped me to make a start in Australia and supported me all the way through my journey.
I am extremely thankful to IYS housing and youth support team and the case managers for their guidance and help to turn my life upside down. Thank you!
I was 17 when I first met the Bail Support Program. My Youth Justice Case Worker suggested it could be helpful. I was hesitant at first and I didn’t share a lot about myself, but my Bail Support Worker turned up repeatedly and took the time to get to know me. They would help me with transport to my conditional programs, reporting, and would usually shout me a meal or help with credit as I had no other income. Once a week they dropped a food hamper to the house as well.
My court case took a bit longer than six months, and I had to go to court all the time. I didn’t have Centrelink, I didn’t have family to drive me, I didn’t have credit to confirm court dates or conference with my lawyer. It was a struggle just to keep motivated and be positive through all this, I was grateful that my Bail Support Worker could help me find a new home, which they did really quickly.
Honestly if I had found myself homeless at that point, I don’t know if I’d have made it through, or where I’d be today. My Bail Support Worker also encouraged me and helped me enrol back at school, they helped with getting my Centrelink sorted, would drop me to job network appointments and work experience placements. They even helped me to get back in contact with my mum. It was about this time that I started to open up about my struggles with Mental Health, and my drug use. I could trust my Bail Support Worker, to talk about it, as we had shared so much already.
It helped me process everything that had been going on, and eventually I visited a Doctor and got some professional help. I received 12 month Probation with Community service and no-conviction recorded. I can sincerely say that crime doesn’t pay, and asking for help could be the most important choice you can make. But it all comes down to you to get up, show up don’t give up!
We are always accepting referrals for young people who are needing assistance. Reach out to our housing specialists via phone (07) 3372 2655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, confidential chat about the situation.