Yoni and Carmen

Home is where my family is.

Yoni’s journey to Australia began 35 years ago when she and her husband made the difficult decision to leave their home in El Salvador.

With the country experiencing severe political unrest, they began looking for a better future for their four children. Despite the challenges of moving to a new country with a different language, Yoni and her family embraced the opportunity for a safer, more stable life.

“We thought it was the best for [her children]. And it turned out to be a beautiful place and we can’t ask for more.”

For Yoni, finding home in Australia meant a safe and nurturing environment for her children. The move allowed her family to thrive in ways beyond what they had imagined.

However, her journey took another turn in 1999 when her husband fell ill.

“In 1999, my husband got sick. So, from being a wife, I turned into a carer.”

It was during this challenging time that Yoni was introduced to SMRC, which provided the support she needed.

“That’s how I was introduced to SMRC, where I got all the help that I needed.”

Home is a sense of community.

SMRC played a crucial role in helping Yoni and her husband navigate this difficult period. Her husband found joy and community in the Spanish group organized by SMRC.

“He used to go to the groups that he enjoys so much, his Spanish group on Thursdays.” The sense of community and support they received from SMRC made a significant difference in their lives.

“The help we had here, we couldn’t have had it in our country.”

Through all the sacrifices and challenges, Yoni takes immense pride in the achievements of her children.

“I’m very proud of my kids. They have achieved a lot.

“That’s why we left the country, to have them enjoy their life. And I’m enjoying all the sacrifices we made.”

Yoni, who had to leave to Australia from El Salvador, smiles at the camera

Home is resilience.

For Carmen, Yoni’s eldest daughter, there’s nothing but pride for her mother and her father. She has memories of troubling political times in El Salvador, having been 13 when the family left, and is grateful for the opportunity to grow up in Australia.

She talks of how much she has learned from her mother and how her mother’s strength and unwillingness to give up continues to impress her.

Inspired by the supports the family received when her father became ill and her mother became his full-time carer, Carmen decided she wanted to dedicate her career to community service.

She’s worked with the Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre for 15 years, delivering a range of programs including taking groups of community members out on social outings.

For Yoni, finding home meant ensuring a better future for her children and finding a supportive community that helped them through tough times.

Her journey highlights the profound impact of community support and the importance of creating a nurturing environment where family can flourish.

Home is support.

Donate: Your donations help us provide essential services to migrants and refugees, enabling them to find the place they choose to call home.

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