Far From Home by Rosie Ayliffe is a Mother’s true story of the death of her beloved daughter, Mia, who wanted to experience life by travelling the world during her gap year.
Rosie thought Mia, aged 21, would be safe as she left the UK and began her world trip, stopping first in Istanbul to stay with old friends. She followed Mia on Facebook as she shared photos of her next stop, Morocco, and then on to India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. After travelling through Asia for five months, Mia finally arrived in Queensland, Australia.
Mia found employment working briefly in a canteen at Bond University on the Gold Coast, then found more lucrative employment in a nightclub at Surfers Paradise. Rosie was concerned about the work, but was reassured by Mia, who felt safe there.
After four months, however, Mia knew that to stay in Australia for a second year she would have to complete 88 days of farm work. The farm work scheme, put in place in 2005, was intended to increase the workforce required by the agricultural industry. In order to extend her visa Mia found work on a sugarcane farm in North Queensland. The only accommodation available was in a seedy backpacker’s hostel in the nearby town of Home Hill.
Four days later Mia was dead.
When Rosie travelled to Australia to recover Mia’s body, she began to hear stories of the brutal treatment of young workers like Mia. She discovered these workers were exploited, sexually harassed and often raped.
Appalled by these stories, she found an inner fortitude to cope with the unbearable loss of her only child by campaigning to press for change to the 88 days system. She hopes to keep young lives safe from harm and spare other parents the devastation of losing a beloved child.
When our children or those of others who leave school and/or university to make their way in the world, we expect them to be treated fairly in the workplace and feel safe. This is obviously not the case and needs to change.
Rosie Aycliffe could have hidden herself away and nursed her grief. Instead she has bravely stepped up and taken on the battle for change to protect young lives. We can all help Rosie in her crusade to effect these changes.
An important must read that will shock when you learn the full story and discover its possible implications regarding friends and family. Also, if anyone you know needs help, and, if you wish to access further information about the campaign, there is a list of resources on the back pages.
Far From Home is available in paperback, e-book and audiobook
About Rosie Ayliffe
Rosie Ayliffe is the mother of Mia Ayliffe-Chung, who was killed at Home Hill Hostel in Townsville, Australia, in 2016. She is a former teacher, travel writer and journalist.