Tash: Mandurah, Western Australia

22.5 x 17 narrative

My family had to leave Zimbabwe and our very beloved home, a home open to all our friends as we grew up and to international travellers who came to experience a taste of Africa; what many saw as the trip of a lifetime. Our life was filled with beauty and abundance.

We left Zimbabwe with positive attitudes to embrace a new life in Australia. Thanks to our parents’ influence, all three children thrived, making a home away from home in our own way while my parents created this place… lovingly called ‘The Farm.’ A new place where all are welcome. As friends and family came, we got them to mark on the map where they had come from: Iran, Russia, Finland, Sri Lanka and so many more… wonderful people with homes so far away finding a little peace and serenity in our home. Whether camping in the garden or taking part in our annual septathalon for those orphaned at Christmas, we were surrounded by people in the same boat, who had willingly left home for adventure or love or been forced out by circumstances beyond their control. My family has been forever changed by the loss of our home, but we found that you can rebuild, and it can be better… it is always down to the people who come to enrich it.

Tash: Over the Indian Ocean

17 x 22.5 narrative

Summed up by the Welsh word hiraeth, which is a longing for one's homeland and an expression of the bond you feel when far from your home country.

To me, it also suggests places that once existed that have changed or disappeared – such as our home, which is no longer home because all the people that made it home are gone.

This picture represents the weird, in-between feelings of pain and hope I experienced on leaving my homeland to find a new one.

Tash: Port Villa, Vanuatu

19.5 x 26 narrative

Red Cross opened my eyes to some of the harsh realities of the world through my work with refugees from many different countries, where I learned about conflicts I had never even heard about. I heard first-hand accounts of the personal pain of losing home and often even a homeland, but this work also exposed me to the world’s beauty, to the acts of kindness that can restore our faith in humanity. It was only through my work with refugees from war-torn countries that I was able to begin to heal the trauma of losing my own home in Zimbabwe when I was 17, in a cold civil war that I only began to understand through the stories of others. A home represents the safe place that encapsulates shared experiences, emotions and basic human needs and the need to belong and feel safe.

Trauma teddies are knitted by Red Cross volunteers for those who have experienced traumatic events, like losing one’s home, usually from a natural disaster. I lost my home in Zimbabwe in the violence about land reform there, and I lost my second home to Cyclone Pam while doing disaster preparedness in Vanuatu. The trauma caused by fellow humans was the hardest, as it created an existential crisis that made me question if home could ever feel safe again. This teddy represents the importance of home to me, and of having familiar, comforting things around myself.