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Tereesa with one of her projected artworks on display at Wulugul Walk in Barangaroo during the 2022 Vivid Light festival in Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Tereesa's story

Australia

Tereesa is a Gamilaroi woman from Western Sydney who struggled with homelessness while raising her four children. Through the Baabayn Young Mums and Bubs Group, Tereesa was able to reconnect with her culture and create a better future for her children.  

Tereesa with her children near her home in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia
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Tereesa with her children near her home in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

A young Gamilaroi woman born and raised on Darug land, Tereesa felt disconnected from her culture. At just 16 years old, she had to leave school after falling pregnant with her first child. A single mother struggling with homelessness, Tereesa’s only concern was finding stability for her children.  

“I was homeless. I didn’t have a place to call home…my kids never had a connection to the community,” Tereesa said. 

Seeking a better future for her children, Tereesa joined Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation’s Young Mums and Bubs Group, supported by Caritas Australia. Baabayn helped Tereesa access housing for her family and psychological support. 

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Tereesa in her home in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Baabayn gave me a homely support. The staff members were able to sit with me and have a yarn. I didn't feel judged because a lot of people go through what I've experienced.

Tereesa

Through Baabayn, Tereesa was also able to hear stories from Indigenous Elders and reconnect with her culture.  Already an aspiring artist, Tereesa was able to flourish at Baabayn as she learnt Indigenous artwork and symbols.

With the support of Baabayn, Tereesa’s art was displayed and sold at local markets and she is now working to start her own art business. Tereesa’s artwork was recognised at the 2022 Vivid Festival in Sydney, with four of her artworksCrow Totem, Connections of Both Land & Water Tribes, Yinaar Miyaay (Womens Business) and Goanna Totem – projected onto the Wulugul Walk outside Crown Sydney.  

Tereesa poses for a photograph with the founding Elders of Baabayn during the weekly Elders Gathering at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia
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Tereesa poses for a photograph with the founding Elders of Baabayn during the weekly Elders Gathering at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia
Tereesa with four of her artworks that were displayed at the 2022 Vivid Festival Sydney at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia
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Tereesa with four of her artworks that were displayed at the 2022 Vivid Festival Sydney at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Today, Tereesa is studying a certificate in Community Services so that she can strengthen her skills and give back to her community.  

“I don't think I'd be the person I am today without Baabayn and being part of the mum's group has brought out a lot of creativity in my bones that I didn't even know I had,” Tereesa said.  

Tereesa now works at Baabayn, providing support to young mothers and mentoring the next generation of young people. 

Your donation can help:

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Tereesa talks with members of the weekly Young Mums and Bubs Group at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Provide a place of welcome for young mothers and their children

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Tereesa runs a jewellery workshop with members of the Youth Group 'Speak up Sis' at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Support young people to discover their full potential

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Community members at Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Enable community centres like Baabayn to keep their doors open for people in need

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Tereesa outside Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation in western Sydney. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

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