When her father was made redundant, he was unable to find another job. Despite having limited English, her mother eventually found a part-time packing job. Maja’s father then looked after her while his wife worked. As a traditional man, he felt a failure as a provider for his family.
By the time Maja was five, the family was in severe trouble. They were behind in the rent, their car had been re-possessed and they owed money for electricity, gas and medical bills. On many occasions there wasn’t enough food to feed the family. Maja’s father began drinking, and over the next couple of years became increasingly aggressive and violent with his child and his wife.
Maja’s mother left her job after co-workers started questioning her about her frequent bruises and other injuries. She didn’t know who to ask for help and was terrified of losing Maja. She withdrew from friends and her local community.
The final straw occurred when the family received an eviction notice. Maja’s father fell into a pit of despair. At breaking point, he attempted to take the lives of his wife and child.
Maja and her mother were placed in emergency accommodation in a new area, to try and establish a new life.
It wasn’t easy. Maja started at a new school, but had difficulty adjusting. She was withdrawn and silent and had no friends. She spent her lunch periods sitting on the steps of the classroom and would not join in and play even when encouraged to do so by other children. She didn’t have the right uniform and frequently had very little to eat through the school day. She had trouble completing her class work but did not ask for help.
Her teachers were very concerned about Maja. When there was no sign of improvement, the school referred her to the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s Children Ahead program.
This ground-breaking program helps children to recover from the traumatic effects of violence and build resilience. It provides the intensive, long-term, therapeutic support needed to rebuild their lives.
Through research, evidence and experience we know that for children and young people to recover from serious violence they need a safe, predictable and stable environment, the ability to express and communicate their feelings, positive relationships, connection to family, and resilience.
With the kind support of people like you, we have the resources to change the story for children coming out of violent backgrounds. With the qualified and long-term support of a Children Ahead case worker, they can overcome their trauma and lead a fulfilling and satisfying life.
If you met Maja now, you would see a happy child who sings to herself and her family, and is actively looking towards the future. Thanks to generous and caring people like you, we were able to give Maja the long-term focussed support she needed. The result is so amazing!
No child should be exposed to violence like Maja was, but sadly family violence and child abuse is an alarmingly large problem in Australia. Donate now to help us make a positive difference to the lives of children like Maja
Help our children recover from horrific trauma. Your support today will make a lasting difference now and in the future.
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