Boat family face being homeless after their two year old Zeinobiyah Soetekouw dies

They've been told they can't live on the boat
Zeinobiyah Soetekouw who drowned in the Hawkesbury River. CREDIT: Go Fund Me.

The mum of a little girl who died after falling off the family’s boat and drowning in the Hawkesbury River, NSW, has written a blog post about how the family is copy after the tragic death.

Zeinobiyah Soetekouw, three, died on July 9 after she fell off their boat Sumbawa and drowned. The toddler was found by water police but couldn’t be revived. 

She was part of a family of 12 who gave up their life in Tasmania two and a half years ago to travel Australia on a boat.

Her mum Rebecca Soetekouw has written a piece on her blog titled ‘Not becoming homeless’ about the hardship they’ve faced in the 20 days since her daughter’s death. 

‘Child services wont let us move back onto Sumbawa. They have deemed it too small. So now we have lost the only place that we called home, for the last 2.5 years,’ wrote Rebecca.

‘So we have been in emergency housing for the last nearly 3 weeks. But that cannot happen anymore…we are struggling to not be homeless, after everything that has happened.’

Zeinobiyah Soetekouw’s mum Rebecca. (Credit: Facebook.)

She goes on to describe how she and her husband Steve are having flashbacks where they believe for a moment that their little girl is still alive.

‘This makes our days harder, as it feels, for the briefest moment, that she is back with us. Then reality sets in,’ she wrote.

Rebecca claims that the large family have been told by Child Services that they have to leave their family housing today (July 29). The family owns a house in Tasmania but say they can’t go back because it’s rented out. 

The family were told they can’t live back on the boat as it’s not safe. 

‘Child services had also asked that all the kids have check-ups at the local hospital,’ explains Rebecca.

She said Maritime has given them a deadline of August 22 to fix Sumbawa to make her seaworthy.

(Left) The family on their yacht and (right) Zeinobiyah Soetekouw. (Credit: Facebook.)

Describing herself as ’emotionally ruined’, Rebecca said she even blamed her daughter for the situation.

‘I can’t help but get angry – angry at the situation, angry at the government, angry at myself and even angry at Zeinobiyah,’ wrote Rebecca. ‘If she hadn’t of died, none of this would have happened.’

A friend of the family has started a Go Fund Me to help the family with welfare costs which has already raised over $6000.

‘As you can understand, this has been a very difficult time for the family. They have shown enormous bravery in the wake of their heartache. They are extremely grateful for all of the support, and also just need some privacy to grieve at the moment,’ wrote Alex Vaughan, the organiser. 

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