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Horizon House changes young mum's life

St John of God Foundation supports vulnerable young people like Adhel to reailse a better future for themselves through St John of God Horizon House.

young mother and daughter 

24-year-old Adhel credits Horizon House’s Young Mother and Baby program for changing her life.

Born in a remote African village in the heart of the Republic of Sudan, Adhel moved to Australia with her family in 2009 and became a citizen in 2015. Life in Australia came with its challenges including learning a new language, adapting to a new culture and integrating into an unknown community.

Having discovered she was pregnant at the age of 20, and unable to remain living at home with family, Adhel was scared and had no idea how she was going to look after herself or her baby.

Today this courageous and resourceful young woman is living independently with her three-year-old daughter Sophie, has earned her driver’s licence, is working part-time as a nursing assistant and is on track to complete Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting at Edith Cowan University this year.

“I’m a new person,” Adhel said. “I feel strong, independent and confident to look after myself and Sophie.”

Adhel was referred to Horizon House by Pregnancy Assistance and moved into one of their intensive support homes when she was six months pregnant. Being in a safe and supportive environment with other young women in a similar situation reminded Adhel that she wasn’t alone.

“It was a very scary time but when I moved into Horizon House it was like I found a whole new family,” she said. “There was a lot of love and it was wonderful.”

Like all Horizon House residents, Adhel was expected to contribute to the running of the household and she did this willingly. She participated in a range of education and training activities organised by Horizon House to prepare her for motherhood and set her up for future independent living.

She was also given assistance with preparing for the baby’s arrival, which she says allowed her to be excited about the upcoming birth.

Sophie was born three weeks early and, after 10 days in hospital, the pair returned to the Horizon House intensive support accommodation for a further six months.

During this time, Horizon House supported and encouraged Adhel to return to study and helped refine her independent living skills.

A year later she moved into transitional accommodation with two other young mothers and her final move was into independent accommodation, with 12 months’ outreach support.

Adhel said Horizon House made sure she learned as much as she could about general housekeeping and budgeting before she moved out on her own.

“I felt more prepared and I knew what to expect,” she said. “Being on my own was a bit stressful at first, because I wasn’t used to it, but I love it now.”

Adhel said she feels very lucky to have found Horizon House.

“I don’t like to ask for help but the situation I was in forced me to do it,” she said.

“There’s a lot of help in Australia, so keep looking until you find what you need – it won’t knock on your door.

“And when you find it you have to give your heart to it and change yourself. If I had just one message for young mothers, it would be to find the courage in your hearts and the willingness to follow your dreams.

“My dream is to continue to expand my education and to be a great mother.”