Karinya House says our generosity has saved the day for mothers and babies

Genevieve Jacobs 9 July 2020
Mother and child

Karinya House is deeply grateful for Canberra’s support. Photo: File.

In a time of crisis, Karinya House says they’re deeply grateful for the support that’s allowed them to continue helping some of Canberra’s most vulnerable through the COVID-19 crisis, and has averted a serious financial situation.

The organisation supports dozens of women with babies and small children who have nowhere else to turn from often violent, unsafe domestic situations. Karinya had expected to post a significant deficit this financial year.

Karinya’s support model is intensive and focussed on giving women and children one-on-one care, so as fundraising opportunities evaporated, they feared the worst. But a combination of government stimulus and extraordinary generosity from the community has kept Karinya afloat. That’s enabled 200 women to be supported throughout the year.

“The economic support is more about respect and dignity so that people can live their lives with that, ordinary people who don’t have many resources,” says Karinya’s business manager Jo Saccasan.

“To see the level of donor support for community organisations that’s evidenced through the Hands Across Canberra appeal and others at this time, we can’t believe how good the Canberra community has been to us and others.”

Jo says some donors had specifically sought out Karinya when making a donation so they could directly support people who needed help.

“They told us that they knew everyone was doing it tough, and they wanted to offer help locally to people who are really vulnerable.”

Karinya received support from the Federal Government and rent relief from the ACT Government, which they’ve been able to pass onto residents. Funding for COVID-19 rapid response grant rounds from The Snow Foundation and the ACT Government have and will continue to make a difference, Jo says.

Karinya is usually dependent on their annual gala dinner as a keystone for their fundraising efforts and staff knew they were at significant financial risk without it.

“The amazing response and support of the May Day Appeal, our EOFY appeal and the Hands Across Canberra Recovery Appeal have really been astounding,” Jo says.

The combination of donations and stimulus payments has ensured that full services have continued without disruption, although some changes had to be implemented for COVID-19 safety.

“Starting slightly ahead will reduce the impact once stimulus support ceases as expected in September,” Jo says.

“That’s been very affirming for all the staff, who have also had a very difficult year because of the impact COVID-19 has made on the clients. The cases are more complex, there’s been more to deal with for everyone so the fact that the financial burden hasn’t been extended has made a big difference.”

Karinya’s group programs will soon resume and staff are hopeful that their “intense, day-to-day support, journeying with women, providing space, time and sanctuary” will continue.

“Your generous support, through the most difficult of times – particularly the strange days of 2020 – has been heart-warming. But most of all, your support speaks of respectful and tangible recognition.”


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