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20 November, 2020

Lydia's courageous journey

After finding the courage to walk away from a 12-year abusive marriage, Cairns local Lydia Gah not only survived but went on to thrive and live out her dreams, and wants to help others do the same.

By Tanya Murphy

She has written a book about her journey, which she is selling to raise money for women and children dealing with domestic violence and disadvantage in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Ms Gah will speak about her experiences and launch her book, “Survive and Thrive: My courageous journey out of domestic violence,” this Sunday, November 22 at a luncheon hosted by the Zonta Club of Cairns at the Pullman International from 1 to 3pm.

The “Chatter@theTeaTable” event will also feature other inspiring guest speakers and amazing food, while supporting the Zonta Club’s work in inspiring women in need. Tickets are $59.11 from

Originally from PNG, Ms Gah moved to Australia 15 years ago and lived in Townsville before moving to Cairns three years ago.

Ms Gah has years of experience working as a counsellor, and runs her own business ‘Holistic Journey’ in Cairns, where she offers all types of counselling for all ages, genders and backgrounds – not just for domestic violence victims.

After leaving the abusive marriage, Ms Gah has now been in a happy marriage for more than 20 years and said her own experience in surviving domestic violence made her particularly passionate about helping others going through the same experience.

“When I tell women that I went through the same thing, they really open up and they don’t feel like they need to be ashamed or hide it anymore,” she said.

“What I’ve discovered over my years of experience is that domestic violence can happen anywhere in all countries, classes and sections of society and it’s important to support women to not only survive that situation and get themselves to safety, but to thrive afterwards, as I have.”

Ms Gah has also worked extensively in community development in Australia and Papua New Guinea, which culminated in her starting her charity organisation “Survive & Thrive – PNG,” in 2013.

Proceeds of her book sales will go to the charity, which provides assistance to local rural and remote communities in PNG, especially women and children dealing with domestic violence and other types of disadvantage.

“This project progresses women’s status and participation through economic empowerment, girls’ education, and alleviating teenage pregnancy, through training and advocacy work in local communities,” she said.

“I have two shipping containers full of donations ready to ship, and now I’m raising the money to ship them.”

For more information, to donate, or to order Ms Gah’s book, visit or get in touch with her on 0435 896 891 or

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