Olivia, BSL program participant image

"I’m happy to have this job, for me, for my family and my daughter … it’s like a ripple in water – it empowers you!"

- Olivia, BSL program participant

I’d like you to meet Olivia, a young woman who was forced to flee her home in Uganda and came to Australia as a refugee in 2014. She arrived with just her suitcase and herself to rely on. She left behind an entire life – her family, friends, a secure job and career in the banking sector …. but more importantly she was separated from her 2-year old daughter – something a mother should never experience.

Olivia experienced severe culture shock as she tried to navigate foreign systems and language – all while battling her grief at being separated from her daughter and home.

“It felt incredibly lonely, I didn’t have family and I didn’t have a job. You just pack a small bag and come. It was beyond hectic and stressful” Olivia recalls.

With little access to support services and no family or friends to rely on, Olivia did her best to find work where she could. Unfortunately, her initial experiences were fraught with racism and rejection in the workplace.

It was an incredibly difficult period in Olivia’s life and she felt despair at her situation and an incredible sense of loneliness.

The turning point came for Olivia when she heard about the Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL), and it’s Given the Chance Program – that provides support to disadvantaged jobseekers like herself. Once Olivia made contact with BSL, it all moved very quickly.

BSL connected Olivia with practical support, including resume writing, professional interview clothes and help building her confidence.

Olivia was provided with tailored support that matched her skills, interests and ambitions, and then she was matched with suitable employers that partner with Given the Chance.

Olivia and her baby

Olivia has now gone on to a successful career in the banking industry as a coach, she married and now has a little boy, Micah. She has a family and friends here and made a good life for herself.

And she is working hard to bring her daughter over to Australia so they can all be a family together.

But it didn’t come without its challenges or the need for support.

Speaking with Olivia, you really feel her incredible energy and love for life. She has a passion and enthusiasm for what she does that is truly inspiring and infectious.

"I love working. I want to become a better coach, to walk journeys with people and see them thrive. That is my dream."

Unfortunately, as the long-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis continue to unfold, and the Coronavirus Supplement now removed, many thousands of people have found themselves in similar circumstances of unemployment and without a safety net.

That is why programs like Given the Chance are more vital than ever.

You can help support someone, like Olivia, into decent work and give them a chance for a brighter future.

Please donate to our Tax Appeal here  or call 1300 DONATE today.

Every act of kindness has a positive ripple effect

Your gift today will help someone like Olivia into decent work and give them a chance for a brighter future.

Your support will provide those facing serious disadvantage access to critical support resources, connections to employers and a chance to rebuild their lives.

Together we can ensure no one is left behind.