"Sometimes all we need is one person who believes in us, who trusts us, so we can keep going" are the words of Michelly Almedia, a mentor in Women and Girls Emergency Centre's last round of the ACCESS Program.
She's right, especially when it comes to financial independence. Sometimes all we need is one person who is willing to fill out a job application with us or apply for a university course. Sometimes all we need is someone to give us a confidence booster or some words of encouragement. These small acts of service are sometimes all we need to feel we are worthy of a safe and thriving future, to feel seen and heard. This one person is what you can give a woman in the ACCESS Program by making a tax deductible donation to WAGEC before the end of this financial year.
At WAGEC we believe access to economic safety and financial independence are crucial to breaking out of the cycle of violence. Research from Our Watch's Change Your Story framework recommends that promoting women's independence, economic security and decision making both in public life and relationships is an essential action in reducing the gendered drivers of violence against women. This recommendation was a catalyst for the creation of the ACCESS Program, a program that builds on the existing strength and resilience of women and supports them towards financial independence through training, education and employment opportunities.
Throughout the six months of mentoring, together Michelly and her mentor worked together to develop future goals, create resumes and look into job opportunities. All the while Michelly's mentee, a single mother living in our crisis accommodation, was studying full time at University. Michelly later told us that time and time again, she was constantly blown away at her mentee's resilience and dedication to herself and her family. "I had to constantly stop while we were talking over the phone to just say 'girl you are amazing.' As someone who had also immigrated to Australia, studied full time and paved her way one step at a time, Michelly used her own experience to offer hope.
This relationship, this friendship that as Michelly describes "befitted both of us", is what you can give women in our community by donating this end of financial year. By connecting women within a supportive framework, together we can break the cycle of violence, intergenerational trauma and social disadvantage.