What women say about us

I have been working at Karinya House since December 2014, starting off as a Client Support Worker and recently moving on to my new position as Caseworker in March 2016. Karinya House holds a very special place in my heart and I had wanted to work here for many years.

In August 2000, after a very short time of knowing that I was pregnant I gave birth to my first child, a son who I named Benjamin. Under the circumstances, and at 17, I was not properly prepared to take my baby home with me. He was placed into temporary foster care so I could organise what was needed to look after him. Then living in my family home, I was told I needed to find an alternative place to live with Ben in order to adapt to being a parent. My best friend at the time had agreed to rent a house together and we started looking on the market. A social worker from the hospital had referred me to Karinya House and a worker got in contact with me. As I was now looking for a house with my friend I did not require accommodation at this point. I was asked to come and talk with staff about my immediate needs, which I did. Feeling scared and alone I worked up the courage to go to Karinya House and was treated with a lot of care and kindness by staff. I was offered material goods to help with Ben, generous support and advice and I was given the opportunity to return should I need further assistance once he was back in my care. Ben was returned to me at 15 days old and we moved into our own place when he was three months old.

After many years of uncertainty and very little support, other than Karinya House in the initial stages, I now have a healthy, happy 15 year old. Receiving such help and support as a young single mother made me realise that I too wanted to help people in need. I obtained the relevant qualifications and applied to work in the community sector. Not only did I get the opportunity to work and volunteer in a few different organisations in the ACT. I applied for a job with Karinya House and was offered a position within a day of having my interview. I work with some exceptional people who are so dedicated to helping women in need, who are so supportive of not only clients but staff and volunteers as well, and I’m right where I want to be. Thank you Karinya!

Nichola Story 1 Nichola Story 2

They gave me back my emotional stability and finally I had a life plan

Mary’s life turned full circle at Karinya House. Mary was a resident at Karinya House a number of years ago, when  pregnant with my daughter.  The then pregnant, soon-to-be mother was trying to escape an abusive relationship when she bravely gathered the courage to turn to Karinya House for help.

Karinya provided Mary and her daughter with much needed supported accommodation along with other assistance.

“I was sad, homeless and had no sense of worth,” Mary said. “I had been living at various refuges and felt vulnerable and completely alone.”

“Karinya gave me a home and so much more. They gave me back my emotional stability and finally I had a life plan. They were like a family to me. Eventually I was ready to move from Karinya into my own home and put my life plan into action.”

Since establishing independence Mary began and continues to work in the public service, and also assisted Karinya as a volunteer for 12 months.

“I’ve never forgotten what Karinya has done for me and …I decided it was time to repay them in some way,” Mary said. “I was so excited when they accepted my application to become a volunteer. I felt as though my life had turned full circle. There is something magical about Karinya that led me back. It is a place and a group of people very close to my heart.”

Sarah 24

I wouldn’t be where I am today without Karinya

My name is Karen and I wouldn’t be where I am today without Karinya’s support. I’m a completely different person now than when I first went to Karinya.

Drugs, alcohol and even smoking don’t factor into my life anymore, whereas once they ruled my life. I was worried I would be a bad mother, but in reality being a mother made me a better person.

Laurel is now almost 3 years old. She is happy, easy going and incredibly bright. She’s an amazing kid.

Words can’t describe just how much Karinya did for me. Their patience and understanding when I was a client made so much difference in what was a bad situation for me.
They never judged me or let me feel my aspirations were ruined. They gave me the external push and motivation I needed at a time when I couldn’t do it for myself. Their support and encouragement allowed me to turn my life around.

Because of Karinya’s support I finished my degree and I’m now a qualified primary school teacher. I love my job and look forward to going to work each day.

I’m very lucky.

Sarah 24

All I wanted was to bring my baby into the world in a stable environment

My name is Ashley and my relationship with Karinya began in October 2007 when I was pregnant with my son, Harry. I had been living in transient accommodation for a long time. All I wanted was to bring my baby into the world in a stable environment. With Karinya’s help and support I eventually got back on my feet and life was good.

A year ago everything changed when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at 30 years of age. I had always stayed in contact with Karinya and called to let them know about my diagnosis. No sooner had I called than Marie-Louise and Luisa were on my doorstep telling me they were reopening my file.

I couldn’t believe they were still willing to help me after all that time. Without Karinya there would have been days when Harry literally couldn’t go to school because I had no way of getting him there.

There’s a very special bond between Karinya, Harry and I. It goes beyond just being a client.

They are our extended family.

Photo of Clare

I finally had someone to talk to who understood me and my situation

My name is Cate and I was 17 years old when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Jasmine. I was worried I was too young to be a Mum and how my parents would react.

My doctor referred me to Karinya House and after speaking to Marie-Louise I felt so much better. I finally had someone to talk to who understood me and my situation.

By the time Jasmine was born I knew I was ready to be a mother, even though I was the youngest person on the maternity ward by at least 10 years!

I fell instantly in love with him and can’t imagine life without her.

Jasmine is now 18 months old and I’m studying Politics and International Relations at UC.

I’m still in contact with Karinya and will never forget the help and support they gave me.