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Today’s guest is Gaye James, founder and CEO of a group called Esther’s Australia (formerly Esther’s House), a volunteer organisation providing mentoring and support for women, with a special focus on issues surrounding pregnancy and parenting.
Gaye first had the vision for Esther’s Australia in 2013. She and another couple of women had a vision to support pregnant and parenting women, especially those deemed most at-risk. At the time they didn’t really know what they wanted to do with it, but the program has evolved and grown.
Esther’s House was officially launched in 2015, and have now changed their name to Esther’s Australia. The Tasmania-based program is also now about to open its doors to support women on the Sunshine Coast.
Today’s Esther’s Australia episode was made possible with the generous support of the Community Broadcasting Foundation.
Show Notes – Esther’s Australia
- Esther’s Australia supports women at any stage, any age. Many women are seeking pregnancy and parenting support, but people come with many issues, such as grief or family violence.
- Volunteer mentors are paired up with mums or mums-to-be, and spend a couple of hours a fortnight with them. Activities include playgroups or other activities, or just cups of tea, whatever the mentor and mum choose.
- Many mums in the programs don’t have transport, and can be quite isolated. Mentors come to their houses to ensure the program is accessible to the ones who need it most.
- Many women with intellectual disabilities experience a great deal of discrimination, and Gaye is passionate about helping these women in particular.
- Esther’s Australia aims to help every mum to get the parenting thing as right as she can. Gaye believes our over-run and under-resourced foster system wouldn’t be so stretched if we took a bit more time to work with mums who are struggling.
- Gaye finds that many women won’t ask for help. There’s an expectation that “you should know how to do this” as a woman. However, the women whose children are in care are usually the ones who didn’t seek help.
- Esther’s Australia often get calls from the hospitals about women who have kids in care and are pregnant again, asking them to support these women.
- Gaye is very excited to launch Esther’s Australia programs on the Sunshine coast, having seen the program grow successfully since 2015.
- Can you help? If you are in Tasmania or the Sunshine Coast, go to esthers.com.au to find out more about how you can help.
If you’d like to support Esther’s Australia, either as a mentor or volunteer, or financially, please go to their website, esthers.com.au today, and find out how you can get involved!