Her children will have a home for christmas.

December 2, 2012 — 163 Comments

Lord give me strength to write this in a way that the reader whose eyes are scanning over these words right at this moment will see the heart behind the fingers which writes them and may their own heart love the woman whose story I am about to tell…

This happened to me today. This story I am about to tell you unfolded in my own home not even 4 hours ago.
Here goes:

He likes twisties, the cheese ones. He sits on my sofa while his fingers fish around in a nearly-empty packet of them while watching Tom chase Jerry from one side of the television to the other and as he throws his head back in laughter he glances up and me to see if I find it funny too. My son hasn’t known him long but they are already good friends and I decided I liked him the first time his little tanned face and wooly afro walked through my door.
Aren’t five year old kids just the darndest things?
Their big old wobbly head sitting atop that skinny little neck. Those little faces trying to make room for those big eyes and their poor little bodies trying to make sense of their big old floppy arms and legs while carrying school bags that are so big they could just about take them off their back, unzip them and hop right inside. Five year old kids are just downright adorable.

Remember that first year your son or daughter started school? Remember the ABCs? Remember the 5 page homework reading books about the cat who caught a rat on the mat with a bat? Remember the certificates that would come home dotted with little elephant stamps? Remember the little friends that would start coming over after school to play lego or watch cartoons with your child and how you would stand there and raise your shoulders up around your ears and pull that ‘oh my goodness soooo cute!’ face and blink a few times hoping to almost capture a picture memory of the scene before you, knowing you were watching innocence.
That was me today. That was me, watching my five year old son play with his five year old friend and tell five year old jokes ‘Knock knock…’
That was me before a hammer smashed the lot of it and left me blinking in shock at how cruel the world can be and this is how it happened.

My son, his friend (lets call him Jessie) and I were walking back from a long swim at the pool. Jessie had been playing at our house and the swim had come after many hours of sitting in my sweltering garage on the first day of our Australian summer trying to sell the last of our belongings in a garage sale before my boys and I set off on our exciting and much needed Australian road trip

Jessie had been chattering for a few days now that he was also moving soon. When I asked him when exactly, he would shrug his shoulders. When I would ask him where to exactly, he would shrug his shoulders.
I put it down to him being five.

As we walk along a car pulls up, it is Jessie’s mother, whom I have met once before. Hello! Hello. Thank you so much for having Jessie… I hear you are moving? Yes! We leave tomorrow. Where are you moving to? We really don’t know! We are leaving on a road trip, an adventure. We will eventually end up with family for christmas. I need to talk to you.

And so thats where it started I suppose. You don’t really expect that kind of comment when making social chatter with the mother of your sons friend but there it was: I need to talk to you. 
So I invited her in, apologised for the chaos my house was in, pulled a chair from the pile of packing debris and boxes and disorder, sat down across from her and then listened wide-eyed as she opened her mouth and allowed the words of her story to come tumbling out.

Born in Ethiopia to a 15 year old girl, the simple presence of Lissie must have frightened her young, baby faced, unwed mother terribly, and she was carried for hours across lands and plains before the girl placed her tiny baby on the side of the road, turned, walked away and never looked back. What a terrible way to meet the world. 
A man found baby Lissie, gave her a name, raised her and then sent her to Australia to get an education.
Lissie gets her education and only a few short months before graduating, she meets an Australian man who decides he wants to marry her and without  knowing that she could say no if she wanted (unfamiliar with our culture and customs) she agreed to marry him when he drops down on one knee after only three months. He then beats on her throughout the marriage which bore him 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…6 children.
Finally Lissie escapes from this despicable man and flees with her children to a woman’s shelter where they hide for 6 months. Upon emerging from the shelter, the reality of life on her own begins and she finds herself surviving on her own, raising 6 children with no family, no support, no anything.
She then becomes very, very unwell which coincided with her landlord illigally serving her with an eviction notice from her rental home of 8 years and, as she didn’t know her rights she started to look for another home.

Her time to find a new home was up 5 days ago. She did not find another house. Every applicaiton she put in was turned down as she has 6 children, even though they are the most soft, quiet, gentle children ranging from 5 – 17.
She has been homeless for 5 days.
Please read that again: SHE HAS BEEN HOMELESS FOR 5 DAYS.

I am crying as I write this.
She is right now driving to the beach to have dinner with her children and after that, they will drive around and around until late tonight where she will go to a friends house and sleep on her floor.

But here is what is going to happen and I need your help, please.
I have postponed my trip. I myself have to be out of my house by Tuesday, 4th at 5pm but am right now setting up beds in my living room, garage and spare room to accomodate her and her children until I myself have to move out if she will accept my offer to stay. I am changing my own holiday travel plans so that when we depart, the boys and I will drive directly to family rather than taking our time driving down the coast of Australia so we can save money on accommodation. The road trip is for now, cancelled but the money saved by these changes in plans will be put into an account I have set up to raise funds to get this family into a home asap. Thus begins the three day ‘Her children will have a home for Christmas’ appeal.

This is the part where I need your help.
I am a student and have very little in savings, my donation alone will not even come close to getting this family into a home, so I am going to ask you to please, please join with me. I need your help and as I type this I am crying, hoping that you will see how desperate and real this situation is and want to stand beside me and decide that we aren’t going to let this family be homeless for Christmas.
There are nearly 6.000 subscribers to this site. If every subscriber donated $1, then Lissie would have the money to be she needs to get her children into a home, and cover expenses while she waits for a crucial operation.
$1 is nothing for you to part with, but collaboratively it will change her circumstances and the circumstances of 6 beautiful children who have already gone through enough.
This is a very real situation. There is a mother driving around right now with 6 children and no where to go.
My heart is breaking for her. I have seen many things in my life but I have never had my spirit torn as it was today when this ill, desperate, weary and beautiful woman shared her heart and her situation with me today.
I can’t leave the Coast until I know this family are going to be ok but my own time is running out I am only one person, I just can’t do this alone.
You do not know this woman, you may never meet her, but I know her, and I love her and I am here right now, and if you stand with me, we can change 7 lives today.
All proceeds raised in this appeal will be given to the family to pay for the expenses of moving into a home, their rent, food and necessities. The first name of every person who donates will be added to a list and then framed and given as a gift along with the proceeds of this appeal. She will hang it in her new home and it will be a reminder to her and her children of the christmas where hundreds of strangers banded together and changed their life.

If you want to donate:

Go to the donation site that I have set up HERE. At the top of that page you will see this:

Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 8.03.27 AM
See there are 3 boxes. One is photos, the other ‘likes’ and the other ‘Donate’
If you click on the ‘Donate’ box, if will take you to a page where you can donate any amount you want. I ask you for $1. If you have the means to give more and want to give more, then do so, but even $1 will make a difference.
Alternatively, to give directly through PAYPAL then please donate to the email address: Vanessa_campbell@ymail.com.
My paypal account is linked to the account which will be collecting the funds for this appeal and given to her in three days.


This is a desperate situation which is unfolding RIGHT NOW. Please help me…. I just can’t do this alone….

Thank you everyone. I love you all, I have shared with you my journey and you have been beside me the whole way, but right now, I need you.

Note to the reader:
After the correspondence I have received today since posting this story I think I need to clarify: I am not the homeless woman with 6 children!!
The woman in question is the mother of my sons friend. I have written this story and set up the appeal after she visited me and shared with me her tragic story of her life and how she was currently homeless. She has now been told of this story, the appeal and the many, many donations that have already come forth. She was overwhelmed and overjoyed.
To everyone who took the time to read this story: Thank you. For everyone who donated: THANK YOU times one million.
Your generosity will change the lives of 6 beautiful children and one very incredible woman.


163 responses to Her children will have a home for christmas.


    I was crying as I read your post. Funnily enough I posted on Twitter today, how will you make a difference today? I will donate and have shared on Twitter. Please say to your friend there are people who cared and she is loved.


    A donation should reach you via Paypal. From the bottom of my heart, thank you SO much for taking care of Lissie and her family.

    Organising this fund-raising is further evidence of how powerful you are – something which I’m sure is clear to all your readers.

    You are officially the most amazing person I know 🙂


      No thank YOU. You are the reason this has been possible. This has been a group effort from the get-go and you know what? $1600 has been raised already. Its a miracle but one that was only possible because people like yourself stood beside me. Thankyou.


    I do not use paypal, but would be happy to send something through the mail if you email me your mailing address. samjoinesnovels@gmail.com May the seed you plant in that family grow into a huge tree of life planted by springs of living water producing many kinds of fruit, in Jesus name.


      Oh thank you so, so much for the support, but as I will be on the road with my children on a road trip as of tomorrow (yay) I will have no fixed abode to receive money to pass on to her, but you know what, just pray. She applied for a house today (I emailed you the details of the house) but the land agents are notoriously strict and may not favour a woman with 6 children, but her and I are both trusting for an approved application, so please join us in prayer. Thank you so much.


    Donation sent.
    As I’ve said before; YOU are such a gift to this world.
    I am honored to know you, a single mom/student who can make such miracles happen for those who have even less. You are destined for great things my dear……truly great things.


      I only told a story of a beautiful family in need, it was all of you who read it and then cared enough to give who are the gift. None of this would have been able to happen if we had not all collectively stood together. I am proud of all of us.


    Such a beautiful and moving story. I couldn’t find the pictures of Lissie and the six children. I pray those darling children and their mommie find a home for Christmas.


      She applied for a house TODAY!!! I will keep you posted, but the house is big enough for the children and Lissie and is near the school so the kids could walk. It is perfect, please pray for an approved application!


    Reblogged this on bethwangler and commented:
    “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). Read here, my dear readers, for a chance to do just that, if you feel led to bless this family.


    What you are doing is wonderful. I just donated $25.00 US and will share this post on my facebook as well!!!!


    Reblogged this on Megan's Musings and commented:
    Please support this family and remember to be thankful for the small things. Happy trails & God blessed you! 🙂


    Reblogged this on gettlost and commented:
    Very important. Please read ASAP and act! Today iste day you can make a difference


    I’ve shared this on my Facebook… I will have to see how my finances are later on, if there’s anything I can spare (hopefully so, as it’s not much, but finances are tight here at the mo!). But hopefully the sharing will help far more than any personal donation can! 🙂


    Reblogged this on The Journey Home and commented:
    My prayer is that whoever reads this and is capable to, would be moved to do something about it, pray for this family and to pray for this wonderful woman that I believe God is using to bless this family.


    Dearest Lisa, I have done what I can do with what I have of the moment, may God bless you and keep you. I want you know that God blesses a blesser and that He honors those who honor Him. And what better a way to honor God than to follow His greatest commandment… “And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:21 (HCSB)

    Reblogged on http://thepedrookie.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/57/


      Thank you so, so much for your encouragement! Lissie is doing well. I saw her today and she applied for a lovely home big enough for her and her children today. We have raised enough money so far to get her in to that home if her application is accepted. Amazing things happening here, hundreds of donations so far!!!


    Reblogged this on just another blog about a totally random person. and commented:
    please read and share. donate if you can.


    Reblogged this on Looking Forward and commented:
    Please read, share and donate if you can.


    God uses blogs! 🙂 This is inspiring


    Reblogged this on On Life Readings & Cupcakes and commented:
    How many times have you passed a homeless person on the street and looked the other way? Will this blogger decided to stop ignoring people in need and actually take action to help. The lest we can do is stand by her. Pleas read and donate…


    Great, great job. I reposted this on my blog and Facebook, and made a donation – looking forward to hearing how it all turns out.


    I hope my post helped you
    lots of care-Valkery 1
    the real names daniel 🙂


    I posted this on my Facebook page as well…I hope and pray they are safe and in a home soon. God Bless you for helping in this way!


    Oh my word. I am speechless. You have done well my dear. Why didn’t you say something on my blog when you visited the Activism article? I really hope everything works out.


    Reblogged this on The Mother Load and commented:
    This story, now campaign, really touched my heart. Given the 16 Days of Activism period we are now in, this is a very real and relevant example of how abuse destroys lives – long before death is even tabled.
    The deadline for the appeal is this evening but, again, this is a story that must be heard.


    I made a minimun donation. I truly wish I was in a better place to give more 😦 Please do let us know what happens to this family! There should be more people like you in this world…


    And just like that you have blown my mind again;your love for people is so clear..I respect the bold step


    How did this turn out? I’ve been looking for an update but haven’t seen one. I’m dying to know how much money was raised. Is the information forthcoming? Tx.


    I’ve been reading you a while, and I have to echo the very first commenter here. You are a remarkable young woman. Many of your stories have touched my, and other’s, hearts and spurred us to think, rethink, and at times, act. You make those you touch better people, and there is no finer compliment I can offer.


      Well that is some compliment… thank you 🙂 This whole blogging experience has been wonderful and I have to say the majority of the valuable lessons I have learnt in the last few months has been due to the insights of my readers and so really, I have all of you to thank for it all. 🙂
      Thank you for reading, it means something to me.


    cannot help but be touched by this story and made a donation thru paypal.
    I hope and they will all have a home for Christmas.


      Thank you SO much. Lissie sat on the phone with me and watched as $2015.55 appeared in her bank account after I transferred it from the ‘Her children will have a home for Christmas’ fundraiser account last night.
      What a moment that was.
      ‘I see it! I see it!… Oh my goodness!’ – Lissie
      She wanted to pass on her thankfulness and joy to every single person who thought of her, prayed for her, shared her story and donated. They have applied for a beautiful, safe home and will know this coming week whether their application has been accepted. Once they move in they will provide a photo of their new home… Their Christmas miracle.


    Reblogged and sent a small amount through PayPal. I am sorry it can not be more. You give me great hope that there is some simple human decency still left in this world. Thank you…


    Thank you for all of your words that captured my heart I have nominated you for blogger of the year 2012. Thank you for touching my existence in the way you have! With love CK! http://wp.me/p2ML45-We


    You’re very noble for taking on this plight, I will check out the page. Thank you!


    I love your pages and your form of self-expression, it is a pleasure to have you share your gifts through your pages Thank you. I have nominated you for blog of the Year please visit my page Blog of the year awards and nominations Thank you! Revised
    Posted on December 9, 2012


    My heart goes out to your friend. I spent six months of my life homeless…and let me tell you: the amount of fear and anxiety being in that situation is hellish. Made an impact on me that lasts to this day. Waiting on payday and you’ll definitely be seeing another donation. I share a little phrase that gave me a small amount of comfort while I endured my situation: “You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”. Please tell your friend that no matter how frightening the situation feels and how scared she is; simply by enduring and moving forward for herself and for her children that she is courageous. With friend like you, and by finding strength she probably doesn’t even realize she possess; she will make it through this. That’s how I did. That’s how I know that when she looks back on this time, she will realize she came out stronger from the experience.


    Thank you for sharing this. Though I cannot give you money (though I would if I had it), I will pray and send positive energy to you, your family and especially the family you are helping. The fact that you’re helping her makes you a blessing to that family. I will post this story onto my Facebook page AND my blog. Please keep everyone posted.


    Reblogged this on The Possible World–Life After Traumatization and commented:
    Hello everyone,

    I am following a blog called “One Thousand Single Days” and just read a heartbreaking story about a young girl helping an Ethiopian family who is trying to find a place to stay. Please read the story and, if you can, donate to this family. When I was down and out, people helped me and I will be forever grateful. Now I’m doing my part to pay it forward.


    Together we can achieve great things. After all ~ what is an ocean but many, many drops of water.


    I just now read your post, and donated. And I wonder if she has any other support for the future – helping with knowing her rights, backlash from the abuse, her health? Thank you.


    BLESS BLESS BLESS BLESS BLESS BLESS BLESS BLESS BLESS YOUR FACE WOMAN! i know that i am a stranger, and words don’t mean much most of the time. but i sincerely wish there were more of you in this world. the sheer kindness, the lack of judgment and the willingness on your behalf is astounding! on most days, i lose my faith in the human kind. on this day, it was renewed! I pray pray pray that you are rewarded highly for your actions! and again bless bless bless yours soul!

    (i’ve just fallen in love with a stranger HAHA)

    best holiday wishes to all


    Vanessa…your blog has been an inspiration to many many people and a joy to read and that is why I have nominated you for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. If you choose to accept please visit http://lisalday111711.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/wonderful-team-member-readership-award/ for details and I wish you great success in all you do. Thank you so much for sharing your life story with us…you are a gift to this world


    Hi Vanessa
    I’ve awarded you the “Very Inspiring Blog” Award!
    Come over to my blog and receive your award.


    robin claire


    You are a REAL living human angel after reading this article. Touching


    Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.


    I wish I had read it earlier. Is the donation still on though?


    You are so kind, you’ve done such an amazing thing. I only saw this now… did she get a home? xx


    The world is all the better for having people like you in it.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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  2. Please Read | The Baking Barrister - December 4, 2012

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  3. Believe it? Then why belie it? « Single Again - December 6, 2012

    […] are made of! So here’s me sharing something very important with you. A fellow blogger, Vanessa of One thousand single days is raising money to help a lady and her six children to find a […]

  4. Share-turday: Her children will have a home for christmas. Reblogged From One Thousand Single Days. « karlitoweb - December 9, 2012

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