Sunday, 26 June 2022
    Young mums program saves lives

    Young mums program saves lives

    A few years ago, Emma Sailor’s confidence and self-esteem were at a low point.

    So, her caseworker suggested she join a small group of young mothers in a study program that offered childcare in the same building.

    “I was homeless before I came upon this program with my child, so I was couch-surfing with her,” she said.

    Emma said the contact with other young, single mothers who have shared similar experiences was life-changing for her.

    “I didn’t like people — girls, in particular, because I’ve had a lot of experience of bullying with girls — so I wasn’t too excited,” she said.

    “But [then I] met some of the other mums and was like, ‘Wow, I actually love these people’.

    The Young Mums Strong Mums program is run from a child and family centre in Palmerston, a satellite city about half an hour from Darwin’s city centre.

    Palmerston has one of the youngest populations in the country, with a median age of about 30, according to the most recent Census data.

    The program receives Northern Territory Government funding — about $150,000 a year — and includes services from not-for-profit organisations and NT Indigenous education provider, the Batchelor Institute.

    However, each year the program has a waiting list.

    The women in the group study an entry-level certificate in community services, which they can use to pursue more study or work, while their children are looked after.

    Regular visits from a nurse, training them about respectful relationships and financial management have also been part of the curriculum.

    Emma said she wanted other young mothers to know they could overcome painful experiences in their lives.


    Emma was homeless and couch surfing until a young mothers program helped ‘save’ her life (ABC News)


    Emma was afraid to join the women’s program at first.(ABC News: Felicity James)