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More than gardening

Karen in the garden

Karen

“Somebody told me about the community house with little programs with no pressure. I came down to have a look and it changed my life.”

Just a few years ago, Karen, 59, was trapped in her own home.

She enrolled in a gardening course at East End Community House in Mildura.

“I loved it down here. There was a garden and no one was doing it.”

Karen soon took over co-ordinating the garden and now assists with teaching the gardening program. She has enrolled in Sunraysia TAFE doing a Certificate 3 /4 in Horticulture and is the driving force behind a fledgling social enterprise selling seedlings from the garden in a local shop.

“Coming down here has changed my life. This was my way out. I still panic but I wake up now and have something to do. Before it was wake up and watch TV. I think now I can’t stay home, I have to go and water the plants. It’s not about me anymore. I have a garden to look after.”

Chris Howe, co-ordinator of East End Community House, says, “Karen has turned her life around like you would not believe. She is an inspiration to people around here, particularly the Polynesian community. ”

Karen is a finalist for Outstanding Pre-accredited Learner at the Learn Local Awards.

Karen’s video story