International Women’s Day

internationalwomensdaySunday is International Women’s Day. It’s a celebration of the achievements of women, whilst calling for greater equality. Here’s one of many stories of inspirational women connected to the Centre.

A few weeks ago a client came to see Yusuf, our Adult Learning officer, for her regular literacy session. While she was waiting, there was another woman in the reception area filling out a form. “If only I could write like that and be as good as her,” she told him, “she was writing really well.” When Yusuf checked who this was, he discovered it was Teresa whom he had worked with a couple of years ago.

Teresa had grown up in a Romany traveller family. She was never allowed to go to school. When she was growing up it was her job to clean and cook, not to learn how to read or write.  When Teresa was in her 40s she made the brave decision to leave everything she knew behind and look for a better life. She came to London with nothing but a small handbag.

Being on her own for the first time in her life was really hard. Teresa had never had a job, never claimed benefits, and she had never even been on public transport.

Teresa_SITeresa heard about the Cardinal Hume Centre and how it could help her. Despite not being able to read the address, or know how to come by bus, she was determined to find the Centre. She decided to get a cab to bring her here!

“Not being able to write makes you feel really bad, really low,” Teresa told Yusuf. “When I go to places and can’t fill in forms, people look down their nose at me. I wish I could say that I’m not being awkward, I was never given the chance to learn.”

Teresa made fantastic progress in her literacy sessions and as she developed her reading and writing skills, she focused on her future looking for a college course and a job. She keeps in touch with Yusuf and it was on a recent visit to the Centre that Yusuf’s new client saw Teresa and admired how well she could write.

Despite all the obstacles she had to achieving her goal, Teresa was determined to succeed, and she is an inspiration to other women.


* We use stock images to protect the people we help.