“Thank you for the opportunity the NEST program has given me. If it wasn’t for you I would still be living in the street and probably wouldn’t have been able to keep my baby. My experiences have taught me that even when things get tough to always keep believing in myself.”

Yasmine* was 8 when she came to Australia as a refugee from Africa with her mum and her 10 siblings. When Yasmine was 12 her father came to Australia to join the family. His addition to the home was not a positive one. He began exerting his authority in the household and physically assaulting Yasmine. Slowly, Yasmine’s remaining siblings moved out of the home until she was the only one remaining. Her father became increasingly violent and Yasmine’s mother failed to protect her or stand up for her, instead taking sides with her husband.

At 13 Yasmine became an open case with The Department of Child Protection and Family Services (CPFS) and at the same age she attempted to take her own life. Yasmine describes feeling so lost at that time, struggling to find her identity and lacking anyone she could call ‘family’. Soon after, at age 14, Yasmine was removed from her parent’s home and placed in a CPFS hostel. Here Yasmine met a new group of people who became her family. Yasmine was quickly introduced to alcohol and drugs and she spent the next few years in and out of hostels, couch surfing as well as a significant period of time on the streets.

Yasmine had been sleeping rough on the street and living a party life drinking and taking methamphetamines, but when she found out she was pregnant she knew this wasn’t the life she wanted for her and her baby. Yasmine knew things had to change.

Yasmine contacted Youth Futures and moved into her NEST property in January this year. At this point Yasmine was just over 5 months pregnant. Since being part of the NEST program, Yasmine has shown incredible responsibility and capability and has made the absolute most of the opportunity she has been given. Yasmine has used initiative in asking for support where it has been needed and has engaged in preventative education sessions with the Youth Futures Drug Education Worker.

In May Yasmine gave birth to a healthy baby boy and has been doing amazingly. She has her home beautifully set up for him and is moving forward in creating a positive life for herself and her son. In the weeks prior to her due date Yasmine reached out to her family and reconnected with her mum and some of her sisters after five years of almost no contact. Yasmine is working towards restoring some of these relationships and hopes they can play a part in her son’s life in the future.