Eva jo Edwards: Westfield Local Heroes 2018
Eva jo helps people of the Stolen Generation reclaim their identity
When Eva jo Edwards’s six children each reached about five years of age, she stopped giving them lots of hugs.
It wasn’t that she loved them any less. It was just that she had no experience of parental love beyond the age of five. That’s how old she was when she and her siblings were wrenched from their family and community to spend the next 13 years as wards of the Department of Human Services.
“A lot of the Stolen Generation struggle to tell their kids they love them every other day,” says Eva jo.
One of her passions is to educate all Australians about what happened to the Stolen Generation not so long ago. She shares her story widely, talking at schools, libraries and at corporate events.
“It's not about making people feel guilty, it’s about learning from our past and healing our future,” she says.
Thanks to what she describes as her own 30-year journey of healing, she is able to be a profoundly positive role model for people in her community.
She is a storyteller, an empathetic listener and an emotional healer. She is also is an active volunteer for the two Stolen Generation organisations in Victoria, Connecting Home and Link Up.
Connecting Home focuses on emotional rehabilitation and Link Up helps people trace lost family and compile their family tree.
One of Eva jo’s roles is to help find traditional names of descendants who were shunted around Victoria as a function of the land removal policies which predated the stolen generation policies.
Evo jo has only recently uncovered her own family history. “Last year I finally felt complete knowing who my family is and where I am connected.”
She feels blessed to have been supported by the community and voted a Westfield Local Hero.
The $10,000 Westfield grant awarded in her honour will be shared by Connecting Home and Link Up. Connecting Home will use its money to provide urgent emotional and financial support to people in need.Link Up will use its portion to help people trace their family and return to country. This is a healing opportunity for people to visit Gravesites or homes where their family were once part of a community.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.