“I was crying every day, all the time. I didn’t know what to do or how to make our lives better. But, Yusuf sat with me and said don’t cry any more, we can help you.”
Living in the women’s refuge was difficult. Without being able to read or write, Yasmin felt utterly powerless. Living in a damp basement, her son developed asthma, as well as mouth and skin infections. With nowhere to do his homework he started to struggle at school.
“You couldn’t see out through the window, we were so far underground. It was damp and dirty. My son would go to his friends’ houses from school, and see children with their own room. He was so unhappy and lonely.
As soon as I came to the Centre, I felt a bit better, I knew that they were good people. Just being able to talk about everything helped me so much. Yusuf understood how I felt, that I had no say in my situation, no control. He started to teach me to read and write. I also spoke to the housing advisors who helped me to understand how the housing system works.”
Yasmin had been so worried, but at least she now had somewhere to go, and people who were listening. Her son started to come to our homework club on Tuesday evenings, and Yasmin wanted to learn to read and write so that she could help him.
“I don’t know how to read and write very well, which makes paying bills and filling in forms really hard. I did not want to sit in the house feeling sorry for myself, I wanted to do something. I wanted to be able to help my son with his homework, and give him a better chance in life.”
Yasmin struggled with her weekly lessons, “My head was in such a mess, I couldn’t think straight.” Until her housing was sorted out, Yusuf suggested learning in a more practical way. He encouraged Yasmin to join a project here at the Centre called In My Back Yard. A project with Save the Children (watch the film they made) that helps people living in communities affected by poverty to work together and help each other.
Writing petitions asking the council to make housing applications clearer, and organising community meetings, means that with Yusuf’s support, Yasmin is making good progress with her reading and writing.
A few weeks ago, Yasmin finally moved into a two bedroom flat, which means she can start thinking confidently about the future.
“I am so happy, I can’t stop smiling. My son is so happy, spending hours just looking out of the window. Once I can read and write better, I will be able to look for work but it’s one step at a time at the moment. I hope that in the future, I will be able to work to help people. I would like to help people in my job.”
Yasmin is just one of many people work who come to the Centre every day, desperate for help. We know that with support from the Centre, people can change their life for the better.
But we can’t do it without you.
Please help to bring hope to people like Yasmin, by making a donation to the Centre today: