After many turbulent years in her home country, Amira's family has found sanctuary and friendship in the Centre's family services; with our help, she now hopes to start a new career...
Amira was studying English, maths and science at university in Afghanistan, but when the Taliban gained power in 1996 her studies were cut short by their laws against female education. Her husband had to flee to England; the two were separated for four years, until Amira finally moved to the UK in 2000.They have lived in the Westminster area for 12 years, Amira says: "We feel lucky to live in the UK. It feels like home". Amira now has four children between four and 12-years-old. Life can be very difficult with only one income and very little living space. School holidays are particularly hard. She doesn't have the resources or know of suitable places to entertain and educate her children over the summer holidays.
"Keeping them at home, in a small flat, they would be like caged birds - with no activities or friends to play with. It is good for them to meet other children and learn skills like sharing". Fortunately one of our partner organisations - Westminster Befriend a Family - referred Amira to the Centre's summer programme. During the school holidays our family services welcomes families like Amira to the Cardinal Hume Centre. The summer programme involves a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities in the family Centre such as music, drama, art & crafts. "I feel free, and at home here," said Amira, on the Centre's family services. "My children are safe and no one feels like a stranger. "The family also got to enjoy various day trips in London, which Amira's children said: "were amazing". "The trips to the zoo and Channel 4 were extraordinary, as we did not expect it. The visit to the [Tate Britain] museum allowed the children to explore art, and realise they can create something of their own."
Amira feels regretful that she didn't know about our childcare services earlier as her older children could have benefited from the Centre's nursery when they were younger. She concluded: "I would definitely recommend the Centre, and I'm looking forward to next term". Despite the earlier set back in her education, once in the UK Amira worked for many years as a maths tutor- teaching adults with low levels of numeracy. Following the birth of her youngest child she could not return to work due to childcare issues. With all her children now in school, Amira is now very keen to return to work, but after four years not working, is lacking in confidence. She will soon start working with our employment team who help her gain the confidence to return to work. "I would like to work full time, I'd like my children to have a good future." To protect her identity, Amira's name has been changed and a stock image used.