This young woman is fighting for her family. You can help her too.

For 20-year-old Aaliyah*, Australia is the only home she truly knows. Aaliyah’s family sought safety in Australia from Myanmar when she was 10 years old. Now, nearly a decade later, her mother is still without a protection visa, forcing the family to live in a constant state of uncertainty.

After fleeing conflict and persecution, Aaliyiah’s parents arrived with a lot of uncertainty about how they would survive with their three young children. Her father’s bridging visa and basic English language skills allowed him to work and support his family, whilst the family was awaiting a decision on their protection application.

With the sudden passing of her father early this year, the family found themselves grappling with the devastating loss and a stark financial reality. Stripped of their primary source of income, they face the daunting task of navigating their profound grief with the added pressure of needing essential resources this winter.

Aaliyah’s mum, Marlar, now bears the sole responsibility of caring for her children. However, the ongoing uncertainty about her visa status and the sudden loss of her husband has taken a significant toll on her psychological well-being. Once a lively and happy woman, she now struggles with a range of health issues, leaving her a shadow of her former self. Her worry of having no right to work and being unable to speak English is coupled with her mental health and her now battle with grief.

“My mum used to laugh so hard. We didn’t have a lot, but she liked the house spotless. Now, she is quiet all the time, she doesn’t leave the house unless she has to…she’s like a ghost”, says Aaliyah.

With all this and the well-being of her siblings to consider, the shoes of support are left for Aaliyah to fill. Instead of joining her friends at university or dreaming of travelling, Aaliyah must consider how she can help support her family and provide the essentials such as food, housing, and healthcare.

Learn more about Aaliyah’s story 

The responsibility of looking after her mother and siblings is something that no young person should have to wear; however, with little help from the government there aren’t many other options.

How is the ASRC helping Aaliyah and her family?

The ASRC has stepped in to provide support and services to help Aaliyah and her family pull through this winter. Access to essentials such as food, legal assistance and the ASRC Health Program has been a lifeline for the family in their time of need. Rather than getting lost or left behind, Aaliyah and her siblings can find solace in the knowledge that their fundamental needs are being met during these harsh winter months.

With the essentials provided for, Marla can turn her attention towards caring for her mental health and rebuilding her confidence to support her family. Though her path to recovery may be lengthy, the impact of support has already had powerful results.

“I can see a bit of a smile on my mum’s face when she comes out of the appointments from the Health Clinic. Fridays feel like we still have hope and seeing the people who help us in the centre relieves me and I can just be Aaliyah the daughter for a couple of hours.”

These changes also relieve some of Aaliyah’s pressure, allowing her to be young again as she dreams about her future possibilities.

“I have to look after my family… but I hope to go back and continue my studies to become a Psychologist one day – so I can help people just like my mum who struggle with mental health and depression.”

Give a hand up to refugees and people seeking asylum this winter. Your donation can make a world of difference by providing vital services to support families like Aaliyah, empowering them as they navigate the challenges of the season.

Donate today

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