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Mia helps welcome vulnerable community members to safe accommodation

30 January, 2024

Mia Zekovic-Bosnjak is studying Biomedical Science at UWA, majoring in Anatomy and Human Biology with a minor in Brain and Behaviour, and recently supported the work of Orana House women’s refuge through a McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship.

“I had always known that I had a passion for helping people. By completing the internship, my perspective has become significantly more empathetic and heartfelt,” Mia said.

“I witnessed how easy it is to lose everything. You don’t expect your whole life to be turned upside down, until it happens. Orana House provides stable accommodation, advocacy and holistic support for women and children exposed to family and domestic violence,” she said.

“My project with Orana House was to create a Welcome Booklet, addressing all the necessary information for clients seeking shelter.

“I was also able to be a Young Person Mentor for young women engaged with the organisation, providing support and guidance as they re-establish themselves,” Mia said.

Mel Rowe, Orana House General Manager, said that Mia’s efforts had been a great asset to the team.

“It has been very rewarding having a young person so interested in what we do to support women and children, asking lots of questions and contributing new ideas that we can incorporate into our work,’ Ms Rowe said.

“Mia created a Welcome Booklet for us that is much more friendly, eye-catching, and accessible than our previous version. Her contributions will help clients transition smoothly into the refuge environment, knowing exactly what is expected of them and what services we can provide to support them through the next stage of their journey to safety.”

While Mia said it was challenging to be faced with real-world domestic violence experiences, and learning more about how prevalent domestic violence was in the community, the internship was rewarding and full of positive experiences.

“Getting to know the incredible team was truly a highlight of the internship. Each and every member of staff was passionate and dedicated, and they all cared deeply about their clients and their families - they would all go above and beyond without hesitation,” Mia said.

“After my time at Orana House I feel strongly that even small things can truly make a big difference, and that everybody has the capability to offer a helping hand.

“The conversations I had and the people I met at Orana were truly unique, I couldn’t have had these experiences through other internships, university unit or work placements.”