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Facebook post 15th November, 2013 - Shared by Lisha Hema

Hello,

I've shared this photo. One of myself and my two boys aged 3 & 2.

My name is Elishah Hema and I'm now 22 years of age & a mum to these two handsome fullahs lol.

Being a single parent is a challenge of its own but being in a country where your not given ANY OPTIONS is another challenge.

I arrived in Australia at the age of 10 on the 05/11/01. From then until 2008 I completed my high school here in Australia (Sydney at the time) and like many other people, considered and still consider Australia my home.

In 2012, my now ex partner (my children's dad) became addicted to drugs and was abusive. I remember quite clearly not knowing where to turn, I called Salvation Army, St Vinnies, spoke to a social worker from Centrelink and rang the Homeless Hotline, all to be told that the best that could be done for someone in my position was to fly home (NZ). An option I will NEVER consider due to the fact of being raised here most of my life and not having support there either. I was also told to ring refuges which I did, but then they could only offer me short term accommodation with nothing at the end of the tunnel either, that would in a sense, be a stepping stone to being in my own home with my children, one that was free from violence and drugs, so I stayed on with my partner until I could figure out what to do next which led me to where I'am today.

I currently live in Perth with my older sister and brother in law who both have two young children of their own. In total there are 7 of us sharing a 2 bedroom unit (3 adults, 4 children). Myself and my two children both share one room and one bed. I'm grateful for that but I also too, believe it's not a healthy environment for young children when your over crowded and having to live with a full house.

Working is a stepping stone to getting myself and my children a place of our own which is why I decided to get qualified and study after being out of the workforce since 2009 when I first became pregnant. The course I currently study I pay for from my Family Tax Benefit each fortnight, in total my FTB payment is $424. My two boys are in daycare 3 days a week which allows me to study online but on top of paying to get myself qualified, I also pay their day care fees which cost approx $80 a week. My youngest son needs nappies which I also have to buy on a fortnightly basis along with helping out with food expenses.

At times I've been left without money for a week until my next pay, not because I haven't budgeted my bit of money but because at times emergencies have popped up or unforeseen occurrences have taken place. 

Many times I've cried silently when I look at my children, because there are many many things I cannot provide them with. We live really basic, and I've had to often rely on my family who have a family of their own to provide for. I hate that I have to burden others with my situation and it makes the fact that I'm a single mum harder to deal. 

I'm not asking that Australia give us free hand outs but I think Australia needs to take a look at how their current laws affect the lives of children that were born here and begin to open up new pathways to assist many woman like myself to make life a little bit more easier to deal with.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story.

Lisha