Nicolle Edwards: RizeUp Australia: Westfield Local Heroes 2018
Tireless Nicolle fights human rights violation that’s on everyone’s doorstep
Something stirred deep inside Nicolle Edwards when she helped a friend set up a new home after escaping domestic violence.
She knew her community had a problem and she was determined to do something about it.
So she started her own charity, RizeUp, which helps set domestic violence survivors up in a new home.
That was 2015. Today, the organisation has 250 other volunteers who help families get back on their feet.
If Nicolle was the seed at the start, she is now the glue that holds it all together. She works tirelessly collecting donations, mentoring and recruiting volunteers, setting up homes, driving the truck and using her powerful persona to advocate against violence.
“Australia is the lucky country but it is such an eye-opener to see how many families aren’t quite so lucky,” she says. “RizeUp is about confronting domestic violence as the human rights violation it is and connecting the broader community with creating better outcomes for the affected families.”
Because many survivors leave home with nothing, RizeUp completely furnishes their new houses with everything from beds and linen to crockery and cooking utensils.
“We also give them hope by showing that the community commends them and we are proud of the courageous decision they have made to leave the violence behind,” she says.
Nicolle is determined to address the root causes of domestic violence and promotes the importance of healthy, respectful relationships.
“Sadly, I don’t believe it will ever be eradicated but we can control how we are looking at it as a community and we can raise our voices against domestic and family violence in Australia,” she says.
“We can keep our eyes firmly planted on the perpetrators of the violence to ensure they know their anti-social behaviour isn’t welcome in this great nation.”
Nicolle says she is humbled to have been voted a Westfield Local Hero by her community.
The $10,000 will be spent providing counselling and psychology support for survivors of domestic violence and their families, as they are leaving a shelter and are moving into their new homes - filling a crucial and possible deadly gap. RizeUp will provide over 50 counselling hours to survivors – including young people - of family and domestic violence. This program will be provided in collaboration with key specialist services and refuges
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.