I had to grow up very quickly when I was young, I had to take care of my siblings as my mother left when I was around 15 years old. We were 7 children and our youngest siblings were only one year old. I become a mother overnight... Yes overnight... and that is when my life as a mother, a big sister, a role model, and a leader began. 
Being the firstborn in my family was very challenging. You needed to be strong, intelligent, respectful to the elder, and a role model for all the siblings behind you.  I accepted my role and I took it seriously because I did not have another choice but to embrace it. Now that mama left, my siblings needed me! But being in a foreign country just made things even more difficult for all of us. A child as I was, all I was thinking about was when mama will come back, I was tired, and I was imagining the day when I can go to play with my friends...I have to learn quickly to stop thinking like that ,  mama wasn't coming back, she really left us behind and when back home... 

With the help of our family friend, I taught myself how to do all household from cooking to cleaning to be able to take care of my siblings. That is where I learn to become the leader of my family. Understanding,  patient, loving, good leader is what my family needed. I was angry at God to had put me in such a situation, and at that time I thought nothing harder than this will ever come my way,  but no this wasn't it Astrid! I had to go through what I will call a life-changing experience that will make me grow and challenge my ability as a woman and a mother. 

I then met my ex husband, we fell in love and I was carrying our baby.. We decided to together move to Australia.

At beginning of this relationship I was very happy, my child was in a good health, my ex-husband was a police officer and we were having a good life. He came to Australia before me and my son, to make sure that this is the right place for us to start our new life. We were together in Germany for about 3 years before our move. I couldn't come with him straight away because I was pregnant with our child and I didn't know how I am going to handle the move. So we decide for me to stay behind at first. Once I arrived in  Australia I was amazed by the beauty of beaches, the people and the warm weather.  We were traveling around and our  family and friends came to visit . Our life was great! The only thing holing me back now was the language barrier. I couldn't wait to learn to speak fluent English. I started from zero.

After some months, I realised  that the alone time that my ex-husband spent in Australia has changed him. He was not the same person I knew back in Germany. He starts to drink a lot, to be  controlling. He was not coming home after work and the most strange thing was that he never introduced me to any of his friends but he was always socialising himself. That is when the Life-changing experience started. I've never witness domestic violence when I was young... But now I was living it!! How I am going to go through this? An experience that I have never been prepared for and in a foreign country without family or friends, where I barely spoke a word of English! I was asking myself WHY ME! Over and over... One thing I knew then for sure - in a good relationship the person you sharing your life with should not hurt you, physically, mentally, or even financially -
Even though I was in love with him, and believe me! I loved him so much, I had to take the courage to go out of this relationship and I asked myself " What is there to love"? I could not answer this question. It was time to ask for help! I was in a place of confusion, disappointment, and I was closed off! I need my family more than before, I wanter to leave, but  couldn't leave the country as the court case was now on. I had to change my visa and moved to a safe place and start a new life. I got needed help from caseworker from the centre- Damara house.  She was absolutely amazing and I will never forget her helping me and my child to give us a safe place and opportunity to start again. I did not know or understand why I had to go through all this...but I know God always has a plan!

 My name is Astrid Tshidibu, I am working in the fashion industry and I help people from  multicultural backgrounds  to find their place in fashion world .  I help them determine their direction, and also to reconnect to their roots. Many of my students are young people going through hard times and challenges that I have been through  in my life. Now tell me who is the best person to understand them and give them advice? Moi with pleasure!
To succeed and  performing my job well  I needed to go through challenges that were in my way as a child and an adult. Today I am thankful to God that he started to prepare me at a young age. I am not yet where I want to be but I know I am going in the right direction and this is what matters!

Love yourself, know when the time is to leave a relationship, love yourself and go in the right direction. 

Astrid- I am complete

astrid - the journey

Read part I of Astrid's life story.