Dona’s Story

Dona moved to the UK in January 2013 in order to be close to her son. She and her husband had moved to Greece, from Albania, in search of a better life. But when her husband was forced to return to Albania Dona found herself stranded in Greece. Eager to support her son’s aspirations of becoming an actor, she made her way to London with the intention of finding work so she could look after her son while he studied. However, the reality of finding work with a limited grasp of English proved difficult, and Dona found herself relying on her son rather than supporting him:

“It was difficult for me to take money from my son. I had to ask him for money so I could cook and wash clothes. He was a plumber, and worked from 8am – 4pm; then he studied in the evening. He didn’t have weekends off or holidays; and was saving to pay for his tuition fees. I wanted to help him.”

Dona found out about the Cardinal Hume Centre from a friend and came to the Centre in July 2013 to start learning English. She received one-to-one lessons from Maureen, one of our volunteer tutors, who was impressed by her dedication:

“When Dona first arrived she was clearly aware of the limitations of her language; but she was very motivated and very keen to learn. She wanted recommendations of books to read, and requested homework so she could make a lot more progress.”

Dona set her sights on getting a job in a care home. She applied for a role as a Care Assistant in the October, but after sitting an exam to test her English was told that she would need to reapply when her language skills had improved. The manager offered Dona the chance to work in the Care Home’s laundry room in the meantime; and while it wasn’t the job she had hoped for
Dona was thrilled at having her own income:
Dona for web

“I thought – Dona, now you can help your son! When I paid rent for the first time I was so happy.” 

Dona worked in the laundry room on her own, which unfortunately meant she had little opportunity to practice her English. However, she continued to attend her lessons with Maureen, and her enthusiasm continued to grow:

“Overnight, I didn’t sleep, I translated, translated, translated. I enjoyed learning about the history of England. I like learning about what people do in different places.”

In April of this year, thanks to her hard work and your support, Dona was promoted to being a Care Assistant. Your donations have allowed her to get the one-to-one support she needed to achieve her goals, and she wanted to express her gratitude to those who have helped her:

“The people at the Cardinal Hume Centre are so dedicated. It is such a pleasure working with them all. Rachel and Maureen in the Learning team are so kind. They have helped me so much. There aren’t the right words to describe them. The people are the pride of the Cardinal Hume Centre.”

People come to the Centre to learn English for a variety of reasons, but above all getting to grips with English is a way for people to integrate into a society which would otherwise be very alien to them. Your support allows us to extend a warm and understanding welcome to all who come to us in need.