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Turning a house into a safe and happy home

Tomika RileyFriends With Dignity volunteer Dignified: Tomika Riley volunteers for the Newcastle branch of Friends With Dignity to help people escaping domestic violence set up new homes. Picture: Marina Neil.
Nanjing Night Net

TOMIKA Riley believes everyonehas a right to feel safe and loved in their own home.

But sadlyfor too many families, this isnot areality.

Ms Rileyhas become so passionate about supporting victims of domestic violencethat she has become a volunteer for the Newcastle branch ofFriends With Dignity–anot-for-profitorganisation that provides practical help to people escaping abusive situations toset up new homes and new lives.

The organisation doesthis by offeringnon-perishable foods, toiletries, clothing, furniture and toys to help them make a house a home.

“There are many ways in which Friends With Dignity help, but the main way is by setting up ‘sanctuaries’for families,” Ms Riley said.

“When a family is leaving refuge and is able to secure housing, often they are unable to then source all of the household items most of us take for granted, and that’s where Friends With Dignity step in.”

The organisation receivesa referral from therefuge or domestic violenceservice working with the family, and puts togethera wish list specific to the family’s needs.

“Wepost this on our Facebook page and wait for the offers of donation to come in,” Ms Riley said.

“We then have a coordinated team that collect these donations, deliver them to the house and turn the empty house into a home, a ‘sanctuary’.

“Friends With Dignityliterally turns an empty shell into a home the family can walk straight into and begin living the minute they receive the keys back.

“And it’s all done in sevendays.”

Everything to fill the home is donated.This includes furniture, bedding, linen, kitchenware, electrical goods, white-goods and toys, collected on a needsbasis.

Occasionally, they will also put out a call for donations of school supplies, such as books, bags, and drink bottles.

Ms Riley hasseveralfriends who had been affected by domestic violence.

“Itisa huge problem at the moment in Australia andour society,” she said.

“I wasn’t able to do much to help those friends I watched go through that, so I want to do whatever I can to help others going through it now.”

Those wanting to help can “Like”the Friends With Dignity Facebook page andlook out for the calls for donations, or become a volunteer.

“All of our volunteers work, study and have families,so we all vary greatly in the time and capacity we are able to commit but every little contribution makes a big difference.”

Visitfriendswithdignity南京夜网419论坛 to find out more.

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