We hope you saw us on Channel 9 as our amazing Ambassador Jayne Azzopardi interviewed Little Sister Catherine and Big Sister Diala.

Catherine was referred to the SISTER2sister program by her counsellor. At a young age, ‘Little Sister’ Catherine assumed adult responsibilities to look after her family, due to her mother’s illness, and had to contend with financial issues on top of this. As a result, Catherine struggled with mental and physical health issues. During the SISTER2sister program, ‘Big Sister’ Diala became the strong female influence in her life, helping Catherine to set goals, and to achieve success like graduating from university with a degree in hospitality management and landing her ‘perfect’ job in a local community sports club.

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This is Catherine’s story.

What obstacles in life have you been faced with and why were you nominated for SISTER2sister?

I grew up in a low socio-economic family with a mother who could not physically work and a father which found it hard to find a job. As I got older, my mother’s physical condition deteriorated. I stepped up and took over the family jobs such as the cooking and shopping. We found it hard to pay the bills and I was always teased in school for reasons out of my control. My counsellor nominated me for S2s because I was struggling mentally with everything on my plate both at school and at home. I had accepted that these issues were the facts of life and there was nothing I could do about it.

What impact has your Big Sister had on your life? Are you still in contact?

My Big Sister Diala has been a big influence in my life. She too is a strong woman who has shared her life achievements with me as they have happened. She has shown me that strong women can achieve anything they put their heart to. We have kept in contact all this time as we enjoy hearing each other’s achievements in life.

Did the SISTER2sister program make an impact on your life? If so what impact did it make?

Coming from a disadvantaged family, I had accepted that being teased constantly at school and money issues were a fact of life. S2s offered so many unforgettable life experiences in less than a year’s time together. These experiences empowered me, boosting my confidence, allowing me to know that there is friendship and success outside of the teasing and money troubles I suffered on a daily basis. S2s proved to me that strong women can achieve anything they put their hearts to, regardless of what society says.

What have you achieved since graduating from the program?

I have achieved so much since I attended S2s in 2008. I now believe my future has much more in stall for me than I could ever have hoped for before the program. My mental and physical health has improved. I graduated last year from the University of Western Sydney with a degree in hospitality management and an offer to do an honours year. I worked at ANZ stadium as a function attendant until last year I found my perfect job at a local community sports club.

I have achieved all this, and many more achievements to come, because S2s helped me realise that I am capable of being an empowered, confident and self-determined woman.

Why should people support SISTER2sister?

The S2s program helps girls that have been through tough times realise that they are capable of being independent, empowered and confident in order to create the life they want for themselves, regardless of what society makes them think.