I had a child 10 years ago but the relationship with his father did not last and I became a solo mum with a one year old. I was working full time but had to then cut my hours back. Eventually I gave the job up as things were really tough and I was extremely sleep deprived and exhausted.
Here I was a young mum on a benefit with no qualifications. I did all sorts of jobs from cleaning peoples homes to forestry work etc. But all for minimum wage, which was never enough to cover the bills.
When my son was aged a year and a half, I decided to study and raise him on a benefit. Just as I entered my studies National, who just got into government, cut the training incentive allowance which meant I could not get help with any study costs.
I worked as a bar manager part time and used all of this money to pay for my tuition and expenses. I then got my diploma of interior design and went job hunting. Trouble is the global recession hit and no one was hiring what I just got qualified in.
I felt distraught and knew I needed a new plan!
I decided to study again, but this time committed 4 years to getting my counselling qualification. What I did not factor in was that we had a government in play that was making drastic funding cuts to the social service sector and that this would make things tough. I studied the 4 years and got this qualification while working throughout and raising my child. All of this while living in poverty and running a house off less then $26,000 a year.
I then got a job once qualified that I absolutely loved! The students were amazing and the roles I held were perfect for me. My employer was even kind enough to support me while I studied full time for my teaching qualification on top of full time work and being a mum.
Even while working I still struggled to survive though and it was still pay cheque to pay cheque. Unfortunately due to the constant funding cuts done by National to this sector, the place I worked for was struggling financially and I was made redundant earlier this year.
I have 3 qualifications, two of which I am still interested in using and have applied for many jobs while now back on the benefit….. yet here I sit.
I did everything National told me to do. I studied, I got qualifications. I worked hard.
Yet here I sit… living off the sole parent benefit or the top ups to my casual teaching work that I get.
Here I sit…bringing in less then $28,000 a year and running a household on my own.
Here I sit, National voters. In poverty!
I sit here due to training incentive allowances and other help to mothers like me being cut. I sit in poverty due to a world financial crisis that was not my doing. Here I sit… jobless due to funding cuts in the two sectors I am qualified and wanting to work in.
Here I sit… realising I need to find other ways to get ahead, as the system is stacked against people like me, whether we like to recognise this or not.
Thank you National for holding people like me in poverty. Looks like studying hard, working hard and being a great mum is not enough. What a dole bludging whore I am…..
You want to vote National? Go for it. Screw good people over some more.
I do not want hand outs . I do not want pity.
We need to work for the whole and as a community. This me, me me what do I get from voting for “them” has to end. We all benefit if we address the serious issues, people. Lets shrink this ever growing gap in society.
Sometimes good choices do not always lead to good outcomes, no matter how hard you try.
Let’s help each other up rather then judge harshly. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Some peoples walks have been harder, bumpier and longer. – not because they were being useless, or unmotivated, or not getting themselves out there – but because we all have a different journey and sometimes our paths are already mapped out.
People matter beyond our own selves.