Upon referral to Taldumande Youth Services, at ages just 13 and 14 years old, Aisha and Zahra's lives had begun to spiral out of control. Their parents share their personal journey with the help of Taldumande.
Almost two years ago, our two daughters, Aisha and Zahra (then 13 and 14 years old) started shoplifting, running away from home at night, and not returning home for days at a time. They began missing school, using drugs and alcohol, socialising with people we did not know, and they became verbally and physically abusive to both their father and me. For our family, respect, love and family unity are of fundamental importance. As parents born in a non-western country, we found it extremely difficult to adjust to the world our girls were growing up in. We were shocked and devastated by their risk-taking behaviours and their refusal to listen to our advice. This kind of behaviour is not common and rarely spoken of within our community.
As parents we tried everything possible to help our children, but none of our efforts seemed to work. We tried to reach out for help from the police and their school, but the advice we received was to set boundaries and apply consequences. This we had tried multiple times before and had proven ineffective. We were also encouraged to approach family referral services and drug and alcohol counselling, though we faced multiple roadblocks as we could not find the right words to express our situation to get us the help we needed, again falling through systemic gaps. As parents, we felt like we were left in the dark, unsure of who would be able to provide us with the guidance and support to rescue our daughters from the never-ending crisis we were in.
A year ago, our situation escalated, our daughters became increasingly violent and sadly we had to involve the police. This resulted in an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) protecting us and our home from our daughters’ uncontrollable behaviour. After this significant event, the police themselves referred us to Taldumande, where we were fortunate enough to be accepted into the Family Restoration and Preservation Program. We received instant support, and from the first meeting with our case manager, there came a ray of sunshine. By this point we were mentally and physically defeated but we were constantly reminded by our case manager, “don’t worry, we are with you”. This was very empowering and instilled hope, again, and again, for us to keep moving forward despite the many setbacks.
We have come so far with Taldumande’s ongoing support, including both Aisha and Zahra each having a short respite stay at Taldumande’s under-16s refuge, Emmett House. Our case manager has helped us get our girls the help they needed, they are now engaging with education, drug and alcohol services, psychologists and participate in weekly Family Therapy. They are working on getting sober, and slowly getting back on track. My husband and I have learnt how to respond to difficult situations, we were reminded how to look after ourselves and we also learnt to remember the positives and to celebrate the small wins. We are finally reconnecting with our daughters.
With the help of Taldumande staff, Zahra has already started part-time employment. We feel extremely fortunate to have support from Taldumande. If we did not get introduced to this organisation, we do not know where we would be right now. We want to thank all the staff at Taldumande who are very friendly, approachable, and always ready to listen. We would also like to say thank you to the youth work team for your kind support and endless care to our daughters whilst they were staying in the refuge. The girls have said, “all of you are amazing and caring”.
Thank you again for your support for our family.
Help us continue our vital work with children, young people and their families
Many of our programs fall outside government funding, which means we rely on money raised from individuals and organisations to continue our vital work.