Amanda's story: Social Worker's encouragement changed the course of her life

If it wasn’t for Birthright Canterbury and the help of her social worker, Amanda’s life would look very different.

When her daughter was 18 months old and her son was six, Amanda and her partner separated. With no family in Christchurch and having developed a close relationship with her partner’s family, Amanda felt she had no support system after the separation.

Life became stressful and busy. Working as an ‘un-skilled’ child care worker meant that bringing in enough money became a stress, especially during school holidays. Amanda was not enjoying her role and did not want to continue going through life working in a job to merely get by.

Then, at a local swimming pool in 2013, Amanda was chatting to a woman who was enrolled with Birthright Canterbury. From there, she decided to reach out to Birthright herself and immediately found the support she needed through her social worker.  

Her social worker suggested that Amanda go to Ara Institute of Canterbury and do their career’s quiz. From there, her Social worker referred Amanda to Dress for Success: an organisation that helps women write their CV’s and find an outfit suitable for an interview. All of this gave Amanda the encouragement she needed to enrol in a one-year Certificate in Digital Design, which she completed last year.

“My Social worker is fantastic. She is very proactive. She was the stepping stone I needed because this course was out of my comfort zone and without her I would have never done it”. 

Birthright’s school holiday activities were also an immense help for Amanda. She was able to send her son to a three-day boy’s camp at which he did an array of activities that Amanda would not have been able to afford on her own. This allowed Amanda to spend quality time with her daughter too.

Amanda believes that Birthright has changed the course of her life and she knows that if she ever needs help Birthright is only a phone call away. “It’s not just about kids having clothes, it isn’t surface level, it goes so much deeper. Their support is invaluable, especially if you don’t have a support structure around you”.