We are foster Aunt and Uncle to two little girls aged 6+7 who live in North Brisbane. For their privacy and security I've deliberately used a photo which doesn't show their beautiful little faces.
They are not related to us, we became involved with them by volunteering through a charity called Aunties and Uncles. The girls are great, but Mum suffers from mental health issues. It is unlikely she will ever work. She takes strong medication which means she is always lethargic. She loves her girls and they love her - but they are truly on struggle street. They do not have a car or a drivers license, the internet or money for non essentials (ie other than food, electricity, clothing or cigarettes - trying not to judge there, apparently on the medication she is on it is impossible to give up, we checked with a medico friend and it's a real thing).
The Mum had a terrible childhood with abuse etc and is only semi-literate, despite best efforts, this is unlikely to change. She is terribly shy and lacks confidence which makes building her own friendship network very difficult. Essentially she is isolated. What is easy for you and I is often difficult for her.
Our involvement is a bit like a big brother program where we help the Mum and give her moral support and advice and also mentor the girls to hopefully break the cycle of unemployment and welfare. The Mum has no natural extended family. She's had no-one to guide her on parenting and had poor role models herself, but does take advice well and is doing the very best that she can.
The girls have a real chance to break the cycle of welfare. We take them for at least one weekend a month to give Mum a break and also give them broader life experiences and confidence building activities they would not otherwise have (for instance they'd never seen the ocean before meeting us). Their day to day world is very narrow and limited to school, the local park, local library and shopping centre.
Their home is a little housing commission job, not much bigger than a shoe box and we've already done quite a bit to improve it and have fully furnished both girls rooms, set up the kitchen with cookware, plates, crockery etc, put up curtains and blinds for their privacy and so on. To be honest the house is usually a bit of a mess. OK a lot of a mess. The Mum just doesn't cope. Housing Commission are finally putting carpet in (bare wooden floor boards up till now) and we think this is a good time to do a mini-makeover as everything will need to go out for the new carpet to go in - so it may as well stay out.
Apart from the girls rooms, the house is in poor repair - the Mum is sleeping on a mattress on the floor and the fridge has become a health hazard.
Through our own friends and through community facebook we did a shout out and were able to get a bed frame, near new washing machine and we bought them a second hand but good quality fridge. That shout-out resulted in friends saying they didn't have any actual items but would like to throw in some dollars to enable us to buy the remaining items. Hence why this page.
Apart from actual much needed practical household items we are also hoping to fund some at home tutoring as the girls are really behind in their school work as, although they are quite bright, there is no homework done at home due to Mums literacy. As most parents will know, if you miss those vital early steps in education it can really impact negatively and learning down the track.
We are also hoping to fund some additional swimming lessons to help build their confidence in their own abilities and also of course to keep them safe.
There are so many worthy causes and so many worthy people in need and we are somewhat reluctant to ask - but if you can spare a few dollars or do happen to have a small scale corner lounge, a spare microwave, a coffee table, a small kitchen table with 4 chairs or a TV cabinet lying about - we'd be ever so grateful.
All kids deserve treats and want toys - but frankly these little poppets have more treats and toys than they need or know what to do with. Mum already overcompensates in that department.
There is a lot of 'stuff' in their teeny tiny house and there is also a lot of broken 'stuff'. A functioning hygenic home that is presentable enough to maybe invite a friend over for a play; being up to date with their school work; being confident with life skills as well as having some fun experiences to make life interesting and engaging is what we are trying to achieve here.