The request was heartbreaking:
‘My client Arya* recently gave birth to twin boys born extremely prematurely. They are due for discharge in approximately four weeks. Arya is on a student visa, her partner’s work has been affected by COVID-19, and they are struggling financially. They have no family to support them and they are anxious about being able to provide for their children. Can you help?’
“The families we support were struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic,” says Cathy Nisbet from Dandelion Support Network, a grassroots not-for-profit in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire that helps vulnerable families keep their babies safe and warm when sleeping, travelling and playing. “Lockdowns have intensified financial hardships, increased mental health stresses and restricted access to extended family and community support.”
Safety essentials for babies and children
Dandelion’s vision is that all babies and children have access to the nursery items essential for their safety, wellbeing and development.
“An unsafe cot or no cot increases the risk of SIDS, falls and suffocation through co-sleeping or sleeping in unsafe spaces,” Cathy explains. “Whereas without a pram, families become socially isolated and find it hard to leave the house.”
Last year Dandelion provided 627 car seats, 635 prams, 380 cots, 4,031 clothing packs, 1,153 linen packs and 1,953 toy packs to struggling families.
“We want parents to feel they are receiving a gift with love,” says Cathy. “The gift empowers families to focus on the wellbeing and development of their children as they feel supported by their community, have their financial stress reduced, experience improved mental health and feel less isolated.”
What happened to Arya’s family?
Your continued support meant we were able to provide a $10,000 Community Grant to Dandelion late last year.
Dandelion used the grant to provide Arya’s family with two car seat capsules, two bassinets, a double pram, clothing, toys and linen. Arya and her partner could then focus on the health of their new babies and look forward to bringing them home, knowing they had everything they needed.
Arya is just one mother who was helped by this grant.
Uniquely, Dandelion does not require vulnerable families to prove they are in need of assistance. A recent comment from a social worker shows the value of this approach:
“Thank you Dandelion. There is no other service like you. The fact that people do not need to ‘provide proof’ that they need assistance – they do not need to provide income statements etc – is great. This takes away physical, emotional and psychological barriers to accessing your service. The clients do not feel judged or ashamed.”
What is the Community Grants Program?
Every year the Sisters of Charity Foundation provides grants of up to $15,000 to small not-for-profits across Australia that use clever ways to fight poverty, loneliness, suffering and oppression. We rely on the generosity of our supporters to fund our Community Grants Program.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.
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