February 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to The Lisa Harnum Foundation’s first occasional newsletter …

Inaugural Fundraiser

Lisa Harnum Foundation hosted its inaugural fundraising dinner on the 4th of June 2016 at Castle Hill RSL. The generosity of our guests ensured we achieved our main goal – to raise enough money for a case worker to work alongside the women and children who are in transitional housing.

Myer, Castle Hill Extends Support

2016 brought exciting news with our Foundation being nominated as the local charity that Myer Store in Castle Hill.

Creating Awareness In The Community

Creating public awareness on domestic violence is a significant service that the foundation provides. Awareness is created through events, campaigns, social media, schools & workshops. In 2016 the foundation was fortunate to liaise with the Sri Lanka Association of NSW to reach out to the Sri Lankan & Indian communities.

A High Tea event was organised by the Association where the Foundation was able to open up a dialogue within the communities on domestic violence and also about the services provided by the Foundation.

2016 At A Glance

2016 saw the Foundation growing with new ventures and new liaisons which provided us opportunities to create awareness and provide services to impact the lives of many. Community support continues with many individuals and organisations railing up to raise funds for the services provided by the foundation.

  • We were thrilled to introduce our very first Lisa Harnum Foundation Ambassador, Kay Schubach. A survivor herself, Kay is a campaigner and advocate for domestic violence.
  • The launch of the verbal abuse awareness campaign. Geoff Young and Pete Campbell made a powerful advert for the foundation to send the message across.
  • A free iPhone app was created by the foundation to help people who are in domestic violence situations and who are in danger.
  • The team of LHF Youth Ambassadors are growing with more incredible young people stepping up to be part of a growing army of ‘Gen Y’s’ who are taking a stand for respectful relationships.
  • Inner Wheel Club of the Hills,Rotary Club of Hills – Kellyville, Students and teachers of Castle Hill High School Share the Dignity, Castle Hill Rotary, West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook Lions Club, C2K fitness & Aquatic centre, Glenhaven Rotary, Trish Chodat, Bunnings Dural, Community Foundation for North Western Sydney, Robyn Sykes, Melissa Mander-Jones, Michelle Thomas, Rotary club of Norwest, among the wonderful supporters of LHF in 2016.

Our Transitional Housing Project

With our monthly sponsorship program we have been able to manage the monthly running costs of our Transitional Housing Project successfully. Through the generosity of our sponsors many and families were able to obtain trauma counseling, care packages and school uniform sponsorship.

Our housing continues to be fully occupied and every need is being met via YOU, our generous supporters in the Hills community.

Castle Hill High School continues to support the foundation

Students and teachers of Castle Hill High School organised a friendly soccer match between students and teachers to raise funds for the Lisa Harnum Foundation recently. The theme of the day included recognising influential women of the world! Each student had a name of one such woman placed on the back of their T shirts. Some names included Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Mother Teresa, Ms Vicki Brewer, (Principal Castle Hill High School) and then there was our very own Aileen Mountifield.

Hills Winter Sleep Out

The Hills Winter Sleep Out is a unique, overnight event that aims to raise awareness of homelessness and the factors such as DV (domestic violence), financial hardship and/or mental illness that can lead to homelessness in the Hills.

The Sleep Out also aims to raise vital funds for local charities who work with the homeless, victims of domestic violence and the financially disadvantaged in the Hills community. Lisa Harnum Foundation was one of the charities this event supported.

Events for your diary

Click here to order your tickets on Event Brite

Hope for Chen

by Sharmila J Niriella
Based on true events, Hope for Chen is the first of a series of short stories that were compiled to shed light on abusive situations women in our community endure. No matter what the social strata, religion or culture one belongs to, domestic violence is something just about anyone could fall prey to.

“Ten Years, two months, six days and eight hours” I counted in my head. Freedom flowed through my body making it easy to breath. I was free, free like the weightless clouds floating outside my window.

“Hair, hair” my mind wandered off to a day in the past.

“Hair….” pulling on my hair I had tried to get the message my abuse across. Lack of English knowledge had not served me well. The police officer present could not see why she was called to the house. My mother in law had sweet-talked her in perfect English. I was helpless. My neighbor had bravely tipped off my predicament to the police. But that was it, I hadn’t seen an officer since then.

John Ma was the ideal man. Reciting stories from a far away land he had enticed me. I loved him with all my heart and I believed he loved me back. My ailing mother had been the happiest when I bowed my head and said goodbye. With a wave of a final goodbye to a family I loved and a country I knew, I headed off to the unknown holding tight to the security of my new husband.

Eight years, six months, two days and five hours…that’s when the abuse had begun; ending my fairytale.

“She can’t give you a son John”

“She will never”, mother in law’s voice had rung over the cries of my newborn girl. The loving husband, the father of the newborn had spat on me in disgust and stormed out the room. That was a ticket for abuse. Every time my hair was pulled, every time I was shouted at, every time I was slapped and spat on thereafter I felt I deserved it. I believed it was my fault.

A glimmer of hope had reached me over the backyard fence one day. My neighbor had been brave again, bringing my plight to the attention of someone who cared. Unbeknown to my abusers I had ventured into planning an escape. Hope reigned supreme in my head. Margaret McMillan, a counselor had whispered through the broken wooden planks in my backyard. For two months I had built up hope whispering while hanging out the washing. Margaret McMillian was consistent.

“I deal with domestic abuse, I am here to help” a young voice had translated Margaret McMillan’s words. I was cautious, and then I had gradually learned to trust Margaret. She was committed to helping me get away.

“Find your passport, we have gathered funding. You can leave, go to your parents” Margaret had brought good news. Comfort of freedom flashed in front of my eyes.

“My baby?” I questioned. I couldn’t leave her with a father and a grandmother who didn’t want her.

Ten years, two months, six days and eight hours later I am on my way. Thanks to those who cared I was safe and so was my daughter. My body had become numb blocking out the constant pain. My mind had given up; plotting no more but I had escaped.

“Mummy” Chen Ma, looks at me and smiles. “Look mummy, we are here” she says pointing to the Shanghai lights. My head is filled with hope again, hope for a good life for her.

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