When Jacqueline came to Integreat Queensland, she had just come out of a broken marriage and was at a real crossroads in her life. Not only was she facing some real-life challenges she needed to overcome, but she also felt quite lost and overwhelmed with the world.
“It was a really difficult time,” Jacqueline said. “I had no extended family living in the region for support and I felt quite broken at the time.”
After hearing about Integreat Queensland, Jacqueline decided to get assistance and joined a couple of the organisations support programs for women including SisterLife Circle, a program where women support each other to grow and develop in all aspects of their lives.
“I wanted to feel valued for who I am but most of all I think I really needed some support from women who would understand what I was experiencing,” she said.
SisterLife Circle is a unique program that encourages women to achieve things they might not have thought possible. Its aim is to strengthen the bond between women by encouraging them to support each other through listening, talking, and by taking part in activities together and becoming part of a community.
Jacqueline said at first, she felt a little overwhelmed but by the end of the first session and after listening to a couple of the women’s stories, she realised she was not alone.
“The world is not easy place to navigate and can be quite difficult but after being around other women, and even though we all had different journey’s, I listened to their stories and felt connection and for the first time in a long time, I felt valued and respected for who I was and for my own experience.
“The SisterLife Circle program gave me connection and inspired me to keep strong and move forward by giving me a feeling of belonging and by helping me learn and build resilience within myself.”
Integreat Queensland Program Coordinator Esther Arzolay-Martinez said Jacqueline’s story although unique to her, is often experienced by many women in the community and it’s by sharing their stories and by offering encouragement and support, that helps them move forward in their lives.
“The SisterLife Circle program is about supporting women who are or have experienced domestic violence or are at risk of experiencing domestic violence,” Esther said.
“Many women just want to be listened to and be heard and we have found when we bring women together, they can learn from each other’s experiences and build resilience with each other’s stories.
“Sometimes we talk and sometimes we do activities like crafts and even watching topical videos. What we find is these women are not victims but survivors. The program is about healing and celebrating their lives though discussions and celebrations which helps with their healing and most of all, their wellbeing.”
- Next Rockhampton SisterLife Circle: March 16.
- When: 1pm to 2.30pm.
- Where: 223 Campbell St.
- Next Gladstone SisterLife Circle: March 29.
- When: 10.30am to 12pm.
- Where: 1a Manning Street, South Gladstone.
Held fortnightly in Gladstone and Rockhampton, SisterLife Circle is a safe and supportive environment for women to meet, share and connect. To register or for more information about SisterLife Circle, please contact Integreat Queensland on 07 4903 1931 or email email@example.com
Picture: Intergreat Queensland program coordinators Jaclyn Iwasaka and Esther Arzolay-Martinez with some of the ladies who attended the SisterLife Circle program.