Ongoing support helped Edwije break down barriers

Edwije came into the world in a Tanzanian refugee camp and arrived in Australia as a wide-eyed five-year-old. It was a new home full of promise. Yet at school, language and financial difficulties threatened to limit her potential. Having ongoing support helped Edwije to break down barriers. Now she is striving to help others do the same.

“In my country it was rare to find a person who had completed high school,” said Edwije.

“Here in Australia, my father worked long hours in a factory so he could support our family. The Smith Family supported me through the times of need with sponsorship and learning programs.

Edwije

The teachers at school were great, but they didn’t always have the time to teach me every detail. The Learning Club volunteer tutors were able to spend that one-on-one time with me.

“I learnt a new language and adapted to a completely new environment and society. The student2student reading program helped me a lot with my literacy. It increased my confidence, which had a huge impact on me. I also attended Learning Club after school."

“Without Learning Club, I still would have tried really hard, but I don’t think I would have been able to get the grades that I have achieved.

“One day an invite came from The Smith Family to attend an information night at a technical college. The college presented unique opportunities for students to start a trade career through school-based apprenticeships.

“I’ve always had a passion for carpentry, since my father was a carpenter back in Africa. He used to tell me stories of how he and his best friend built a school. So I moved to the technical college and am currently focusing on completing a Certificate III in Construction.

“I now feel quite confident entering a male-dominated workforce. I feel that it will give me a chance to empower and encourage women to overcome stereotypes.”