Ismael's story

Small gifts can have the biggest impact

Ismael was just 16 when he came to the Lead Tenant Program at Melbourne City Mission. Leaving his home in Ethiopia only a year earlier, he found himself with few options after the breakdown of the relationship with his Aunt. 

Ismael experienced the loss of a close family member as well as abandonment from another. The young man had experienced significant loss and then faced many challenges in adjusting to a new country, a new culture and learning the English language.

In addition to these challenges, at the age of 16 Ismael had to learn to live independently, whilst continuing his education and trying to stay connected to his community. Learning to budget a fortnightly Youth Allowance is not easy when the money doesn’t go very far and sacrifices need to be made.

For Ismael, Melbourne City Mission was able to assist in the payment of his yearly soccer membership. While the monetary contribution was of a small amount; the payment of this membership meant he could continue to participate in the sport he loved and have a supportive and positive network of friends around him. This link to community was essential for Ismael to be part of and continue to grow as an individual.

Unlike some other clients in the Lead Tenant Program who have access to certain funding; Ismael was not eligible for many of the support programs to support him with items such as school equipment (books, uniforms, excursions), obtaining his Learner License, sporting membership etc.

The Wishing Well Program will provide a pool of funds that could be used to grant small wishes for young people, like Ismael, including joining a local sporting team or paying for a learners permit test and driving lessons so a young person can obtain their Driving Licence.

A few months prior to his 18th birthday, Ismael also was fortunate enough to be accepted into a placement with support at Ladder Hoddle Street and is to date still residing there. The relationship into a mature, well adapted young man.

Ismael proved himself to be a resilient, kind and smart young person. He worked hard at school and achieved some great academic outcomes; graduating year 12 and is currently studying at Melbourne University on a scholarship.

Sign up today and help grant a wish to those just like Ismael.