Sharon’s fresh start felt like a fairy-tale. That’s until the pandemic changed everything.

Published

June 10, 2021

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Leaving her country of origin, she came to Australia in 2019 to marry her childhood sweetheart. Together at last, it felt like a dream come true: a real opportunity for love, happiness and new beginnings.   

“I wanted to find new meaning and a new hope, living a healthy family life,” says Sharon.  

Filled with excitement, she couldn’t wait to see what the future had in store. The family settled in Shepparton, where her husband had been living since 2015.  

Then, the whole world was put on pause.  

COVID-19 swept across Australia, changing life as we knew it. As everything closed, Sharon’s family life started to falter.   

The pandemic took its toll on their family—and her marriage. 

Eventually, Sharon’s marriage fell apart. Without food, income or housing, she packed up and left with her children.  

Sharon’s future was uncertain.  

“I had big questions about my life and my decision to come to Australia,” says Sharon. 

“Had I jumped out of the pot into the fire? I had to start my life all over again.” 

Then, Sharon was referred to Uniting’s team in Shepparton.  

Connecting with our Settlement Hub service in Shepparton—which helps people who have been in Australia for less than 5 years—Sharon found the emergency relief and financial assistance she needed to get back on her feet.  

With hope in her heart, Sharon felt empowered. She successfully applied for a case manager support role with Uniting. Sharon now helps other asylum seekers to feel comfortable in their communities and understand what services are available for them. 

“It was a real moment of hope for me,” she remembers. “I knew with a full-time job, I would be able to afford a rental property, provide the basics for my children, manage my studies, and live without fear.” 

As part of the role, Sharon delivered meal packs to families in need, actively sharing in a program that helped her so much. 

Afterwards, she went back to the motel she called home, telling her kids how fulfilling it was to be able to help people just like them. 

Sharon recently reunited with her husband and they are working on building a happy future together.  

“We are not perfect human-beings, but when we try, half the battle is won,” says Sharon.  

Sharon is not alone in her story. Thousands of people across Victoria and Tasmania are struggling this winter. Your donation today will bring a brighter tomorrow for people in your community. 

Together, we can share hope – and change lives.

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