I am somebody
Be moved by the experience of Jayda, a young girl who has found love, connection and belonging with her grandparents. A story of Aboriginal culture, the power of family love and the importance of listening to the voices of children.
Jayda, 12 years old
‘I had to be an adult for my whole childhood and now I can finally be a kid again.’
What I love about this beautiful island is family. My family, my family’s family, and all the generations before them have lived here. There has been life and death and happy and sad times. I am learning their stories and one day I will be able to tell my children. Being here helps to keep my family and my culture alive. They say home is where you are, and I am here on my island. My feet are solid on the ground and my hair is in the wind.
My grandparents are incredible people and have worked hard their entire lives. They have been through hell and heaven. They gave my mum her life, and she gave me mine and I’m respectful of them for that. My grandparents and I have a deep connection. There are no words to describe it. They’re people I just love. That’s the only word in my vocabulary right now.
Picture Jayda and Mort.
Picture of Jayda and Caseworker Emma.
Before I moved here I had to fend for myself. I had to be an adult for my whole childhood and now I can finally be a kid again. I miss my brother Seth though. He needs lots of special care from doctors that we don’t have here, so for now he needs to live on the mainland. It is your average brother and sister relationship. We fight, we hug, we kiss, and we punch! But we have a close bond because of the kind of life we grew up in. I’ve had to be there for Seth when no one else could and stand up for him. People just see him as a kid with a disability, but he is still a person. He is Seth. It is good seeing him happy living in a place that takes care of him.
I am glad that my caseworker Emma helped me come home to my island. She never puts her voice in front of mine. Emma always lets me speak first. She gets that this is my life she is dealing with and my family’s. She has a respect for my family that many people don’t and so I give her that respect back. Emma would always ask, ‘Are you alright? Are you okay with this? Do you feel this way or that way?’ I’m grateful that I have a caseworker like Emma. I could tell she was there for the right reasons and not just because her boss told her she had to be. There has been a good vibe between us since we met.
Picture of Jayda in front of a house.
Now I go exploring every day of my life. I build cubbies, I go swimming. I go deep in the bush up to the rocks. I love rock climbing. I have a special thinking rock where I like to sit. Pop’s always telling me not to do it as I’ll slip in my big boots but I love it! There is so much clutter in the city and no one really listened to me. Being here is like being wrapped up in a big hug.
Being home on the island with family and friends has really helped me remember that I’m not nobody. I am not just another kid in the welfare system who’s had a crappy life. I am somebody.
‘I am not just another kid in the welfare system who’s had a crappy life. I am somebody.’