Eleven months ago, the only things Lee owned were the clothes on her back and the few personal items tucked away in a suitcase she carried. She arrived in a town she knew nothing about; without work, living with depression and traumatised by violence.

Now, thanks to BaptistCare’s No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS), Lee is the proud owner of a new, reliable Westinghouse fridge.

“I’m like, my gosh, I own things! I mean, I did own stuff but I lost them. Now this is mine, no one can take it away. It’s such a good feeling,” says Lee.

Well educated and from a stable and loving family, Lee’s ‘former life’ saw her married with children and living in a Melbourne suburb. After her divorce, Lee moved state to be closer to her elderly father. In a new relationship, she found herself a victim of domestic violence. But that was then, and this is now.

The fridge furnishes Lee’s one bedroom social housing apartment. “Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I have come so far in such a short time. I don’t know what I would have done without the NILS loan. You need a fridge; you can’t survive without a fridge,” said Lee.

“Just knowing that this resource is there changes everything. I paid back $10 a week. I’m going to get a laptop now to help with my study.”

Lee began a course in the aged and disability care sector, but a work injury during training saw her in hospital and unable to continue.

“Some days are hard with both depression and the injury, but what’s important to me is having a roof over my head. I have my own place. It feels like home. I have a fridge. I’m getting there.”

“I’m staying clear of relationships at the moment. That’s empowering too! To make my own decisions, by myself, with no one to tell me what to do or how to do it,” said Lee.

“It’s been the help from everyone at BaptistCare HopeStreet that has made this change possible. Everybody has done whatever they can to help me. It’s just wonderful.”