Northlanders rally for family

By Sophie Ryan

Ashaa Joyce has had a turn-around since her story about struggling to pay for teenagers to go to school was reported in the Northern Advocate.

Miss Joyce was surprised to find so many people relating to her situation after her tale was told on January 24.

"A lot of people have been reaching out, I don't usually ask for help, but heaps of people have said they are proud of me," she said.

The 22-year-old contacted the Northern Advocate and told how she was struggling to make ends meet after taking in her two teenage brothers.

After the story was printed, Miss Joyce found herself top of the priority list at Work and Income, which was a pleasant surprise.

Her brothers are back at school now and each week she tries to add to the boys' uniform.

Getting them ready for school was a costly period, a stationery shop with both of them meant she spent $140 for all the necessary books.

She said she cut costs by shopping at Postie Plus, which was having a sale, for the plain uniform pieces for the boys, the rest of the uniform has cost her more than $300.

Miss Joyce has met a budgeter and is going to attend a parenting course to get advice on how to handle the teenage boys.

"People keep stopping me in the streets. It's always positive, and it's got rid of my embarrassment," she said. "I've been helping people for a long time."

The Northern Advocate has received anonymous donations, which have been passed on to Miss Joyce.

She said a friend from her coffee group gave her a donation, which she insisted Miss Joyce spent on herself.

"I didn't, of course, I spent it on the stationery, but it was nice of her," Miss Joyce said.

She has received anonymous donations, but wishes people had left a name and number so she could personally call them and thank them.

She says she is getting support from Work and Income but has no intention of requesting more, saying the process is too time-consuming and frustrating.

"We are getting there, just doing our best," she said.

- Northern Advocate

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