Anne* never thought that education was something she would ever have the opportunity to pursue.
A single parent when she was seventeen, and the sole carer of her seven grandchildren since her daughter’s untimely death. Anne is one of the many people supported by CatholicCare’s Clemente program.
“I had always wanted to study. I love to learn. But I never thought that it would be something I could do. There was no opportunity. It was just you know, one day after another and I was still grieving for my daughter”. But Clemente changed things for Anne.
Clemente is a free, humanities-based higher education program that provides opportunities to people experiencing severe disadvantage and social isolation - and gives them a supported study experience.
“I think the most wonderful thing about Clemente is it’s not intimidating… I am an introvert and terribly shy in places where I don’t know anybody. And I found it very comfortable,” said Anne.
“You are not competing with anyone. It’s just good, it’s a really good atmosphere. Everybody’s accepting. It’s great!”
But Clemente is more than just an education program.
For Anne, it was the first time in her life she was doing something for herself. “I didn’t realise this is what I needed. Something to do… Something I like.”
Anne feels that there has been a positive impact on her family too. “I’ve got a 21 year old who just finished school and now she wants to go and continue on because I’m studying.”
CatholicCare’s Clemente Program is made possible by the generous support of the Noel and Carmel O’Brien Family Foundation and our education partner Australian Catholic University.
“I’m a happier person, and I’m in a better place. I’m feeling optimistic.”
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*At CatholicCare, we respect everyone who comes to us for help and many are working towards a fresh start in life. While the stories and quotes are true, client names and images have been changed to protect their privacy.