'I set up a home for a mother and her two kids escaping violence. What I saw was beautiful.'

All you get is a paragraph. A short description that only briefly details who you will be helping.

Our paragraph told us the home we'd be fitting out is for a mum in her 20s with two young girls. The mother's favourite colour is white. She enjoys art and music. Her youngest daughter loves the colour purple and anything squishy and sensory. Her eldest is obsessed with pink and "girly things".

Although the details offered are few, you can read between the lines. This mother and her children have likely been to hell and back. 

Now it's our job to help them find a peaceful restart. 

There are some moments in life that will always stay with you. Moments that resonate, because they were so touching and make you reflect deeply. This occurred the day I read that paragraph and helped set up a home for this art-loving mum and her girls. The day I was one small part of her journey to escape violence.

It was organised through RizeUp Australia, Mamamia's charity partner. RizeUp is an Australian organisation that help women and families move on after the devastation of domestic violence. The charity provides life-changing and practical support to these families by fitting out homes. 

Watch: women and violence, the hidden numbers. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia.

Currently, the RizeUp team furnishes at least eight to ten complete homes per week. The team along with their brand partners source the furniture, the bedding, the kitchen appliances, the soft furnishings, the toys - all the things that make a home. They've helped thousands of women and children have a fresh start. 

Now it was my opportunity - along with other Mamamia employees - to contribute in whatever small way I could too.

Starting in the home's dining room, unpacking boxes and sorting furniture, RizeUp's CEO Nicolle Edwards said the limited details provided to the RizeUp team and its volunteers is part of the parcel. We didn't even know where this woman had come from - she could have travelled interstate or overseas to find a better life. She could have been living in a refuge for months, even years, with her kids. This is the safest way to make sure anonymity is kept, the social workers and services always the conduit. Despite the few details the idea was to still make the place feel personal, unique and special to them.

Together as a team we unloaded trucks, assembled furniture and made this housing commission property a home.

But it was more than just building flat pack furniture and sorting. There was emotion behind it - thought and care. We fluffed the pillows, designed special play spaces for the two girls, provided the mum with the quality items she deserved. 


As we started sorting through all the beautiful new items for the home, a member of the RizeUp team said: "I quietly watch the volunteers, and, at some point in the day, it dawns on them what they are doing. They take it all in, and it's really emotional, you can see it on their faces. Some cry. Some just stop and look reflective. It's very moving."

The team working together to furnish the home, and then one of the children's bedrooms. Image: Supplied. 


The mum's new bedroom. A safe, comfortable space just for her. Image: Supplied.

Throughout the day, we shared stories. We laughed as we dealt with allen keys. We simply bonded.


We also shed a tear or two thinking about the pending reaction that the mum and her two daughters would have when they walked into their new home for the first time. 

By the end of the afternoon, everything was perfect. It was then time to leave - in a few hours, this family of three would be arriving to see their new transformed haven.

Weeks later, we received feedback from the mother's social worker, who said the family was still in disbelief about the gift they had been given. 

It's a complicated feeling. No one wants these services to have to exist in the first place. We should be a society free from violence. But in the meantime as we deal with the current epidemic, it's comforting to know that some support is available and there are people out there advocating for those who haven't had their voices heard. 

"When I took the client to the property, her daughters walked around in pure disbelief! They were so excited by everything you had provided them with - they didn't know what to look at first," the social worker said.

"My client has had a long journey to get here and I can't express how amazing it was to watch it sink in that this was her home and all of the things you had provided was hers to keep. The work you all do makes such a difference to these families that often come to us with nothing."


The social worker then shared a thank you from the mother herself. Words that will stick with me for a long time.

"Walking into the place was far beyond what I had visioned it to be. I can't gather my words properly right now. They filled light in areas that were so dark. They took our house and turned it into an extraordinary home," she wrote.

"So much stress has now been taken off my shoulders and so much warmth has entered my heart. We are super happy. Our cup is so full."

Not only was this mother and her daughters' cups full, but now, so are ours. And they will remain that way for a very long time. 

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Mamamia is a charity partner of RizeUp Australia, a Queensland-based organisation that helps women and families move on after the devastation of domestic violence. If you would like to support their mission to deliver life-changing and practical support to these families when they need it most, you can donate here

A woman reports domestic or family violence every 2 minutes in Australia. Help her start again with RizeUp.   Donate here

Feature Image: Supplied.