Nadeisha’s Story

Nadeisha started volunteering in our hostel at the beginning of this year, returning to the Centre 18 years after receiving help here herself. Having faced a number of tragic losses within her family she has demonstrated a determination to move forward with her life which is incredibly admirable. She has come through the other side determined to help others and at peace with the loss she has suffered.

Nadeisha’s relationship with the Centre started in 1997 when she moved into our Young Persons Hostel after finding herself homeless following a breakdown in communication with her mother. She was referred to the hostel after struggling to settle elsewhere, and admitted that the environment in other hostels had been overwhelming:

“When I first stayed in a hostel it was a culture shock. I’d never been in a hostel before. There were young people there addicted to drugs and with multiple sexual partners. But when I came to the Cardinal Hume Centre it was different, it was more of a home.”Nadeisha for web

Within a couple of months Nadeisha had settled into hostel life and was proud of her independence. She was working and attending college, and she was able to pay her own rent:

“I thought, this is my home. Its small, it’s not what I’m used to, but it’s mine. It was my key, my space, my domain.”

Nadeisha left the hostel in 1999, with help from the resettlement team, after she found out she was pregnant. She gave birth to a baby girl, and was able to move in with her partner. However she tragically lost her partner and her grandmother within the space of two years. And while studying Forensic Science at University found out that her mother had been diagnosed with Cancer. The news hit her hard and she found herself unable to complete her studies. Nadeisha returned to University after her mother was given the all clear, but sadly her mother passed away when she was a year away from graduating. In 2014, after coming to terms with the loss of her mother Nadeisha finally graduated with a degree in Criminology and Youth Studies. Her experiences had shaken but not broken her, and Nadeisha believes that the help she received as a teenager went a long way to building her resilience:

“Because of the skills, the help, the platform that I got I was able to cope with the traumas I have been through. I was able to come out of it undepressed, unshaken, undisturbed.”

Throughout the turbulent years when her mother was ill Nadeisha had worked hard, volunteering at Kids Company and Church youth groups alongside paid roles in retail. She had developed a passion for young people, so when the opportunity to volunteer in the Centre’s hostel came up she jumped at the chance to be involved:

“I always thought that I wanted to come back here and do volunteering here. One day I went on the website, and thought right this is it.”

Nadeisha now works one day a week in the hostel and is responsible for running a young people’s forum for the residents. The forums are an opportunity for the young people to receive information about education, training and apprenticeship opportunities; and a chance for them to share any issues they might be having either inside or outside the hostel. Nadeisha feels like she can offer advice because she’s been through the hostel herself; and working with the residents is a chance for her to give something back:

“Instead of receiving I’m now giving. The young people are so misunderstood. They have a limited knowledge of the world around them. I try to give them the tools they need to equip them in the direction they need to go.”

Looking back on the time since she lived in the hostel Nadeisha realises she has come a long way. She believes in the potential of all the young people she works with and is proud to be able to help them, through sharing her own experiences:

“It’s crucial for someone to bridge the gap with them. I can see where they’re coming from because I’ve been there. I can give advice and guidance to actually help them. I realise I’ve come a long way. I hope others will see my story and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”