SURVIVORS: Jemima Richards and Kate Riddell visited Gatton last week to give a seminar about recovery after a natural disaster.
SURVIVORS: Jemima Richards and Kate Riddell visited Gatton last week to give a seminar about recovery after a natural disaster.

Women's group help heal scars

TWO women have realised that no matter what disasters people have endured, everyone is fighting the same battles in recovery.

Jemima Richards and Kate Riddell are the founders of Firefoxes Australia, a group of women who connected after the Black Saturday fires tore through their homes in Victoria three years ago.

These two inspirational women have been travelling over Queensland telling stories of their journey to recovery and stopped in Gatton last week to encourage the community to create their own version of Firefoxes.

Jemima and Kate had never met until the black smoke and raging fires descended over their secluded towns and emergency housing and support was needed.

Women from the affected towns met up to talk to each other and share their stories and opinions, creating Firefoxes.

But the women did not just share their stories of disaster and despair at the meetings.

"We talked about what the town needed, what their families needed and also what the women themselves needed," Kate said.

"It is just an ordinary group of women who understand each other because people who haven't been through a disaster just don't understand, despite good intentions."

Jemima said when the women got together they discovered something wonderful.

"Women are the pinnacle point in the family so if they fall apart, so does the family," she said.

"But when we all gathered as a group, the women really opened up in a way they felt they couldn't do around their families and it gave them a chance to communicate openly about 'touchy feely' stuff."

Jemima and Kate saw the power of the Firefoxes group and are encouraging women to create their own version of Firefoxes.

"We want women to band together to learn self care and strategies to get through disasters," Kate said.


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