Laura left Morocco to come to the UK when she got married, aged just 17. The marriage didn't work out, and eventually she ran away. Despite being so young, Laura managed to build a life for herself in the UK. She is now 56, and has spent her life working hard, and even gave much of her time to fostering children. Last September she was made redundant, and since then, life has been tough. "I have always worked. Whether it was cleaning, working in a pub, or anything. I have always done something, as I wanted to be a good example to the children. But, I used to be able to pick up the phone and talk to someone about a job vacancy, but now it is all on computers. I can speak English very well, but I am ashamed to have been here for so long and I don't know how to use the computers and neglected my writing. If I hadn't, I wouldn't be in this mess. "
After losing her job, Laura had to go to the Job Centre to sign on for the first time. "It was horrible, they made me feel really small. I have worked all my life and done my best, but every time I go there, I come out crying. They make me feel like I have done something wrong, when I am doing my best". Months went by, and Laura was still desperate to find work, when a friend suggested she try the Cardinal Hume Centre. "I live near the Centre, but I had never needed help before. I was nervous about coming, but when I did, I was so impressed. I thought, finally here are human beings with a heart, and I started to feel hope again."
The Centre staff sat down with Laura, and listened to what she really wanted to do, so that we could help her to plan the best way to achieving her goals. "I want to use the skills I learnt while fostering to work as a child minder. I love working with children, and it's something I know I can do well. I had already done practical courses in first aid, and Triple P [Positive Parenting Programme], but I needed help with the next steps."
The staff introduced Laura to Yusef Patel (our Adult Education officer), and she started her weekly one-to-one writing and I.T. lessons with him. "Yusef is so understanding and calm. He teaches me in a practical way. He helps me with my writing, and we use the computers at the Centre at the same time as looking for jobs. I am proud to be learning the skill of writing, and I am getting better. I still struggle with spellings, and sometimes I even make up letters, but I am getting better! "With help from Yusef, and the other staff, Laura is now just waiting for her CRB form to clear, and then she can start applying to work as a childminder.
"Thanks to the Centre, I am getting close to my dream job. They even helped me to arrange my day being assessed by Ofsted. They are here for you every step of the way." In the mean time, Laura is still determined to find any job, so that she can be independent. "Yusef has helped me to create two CVs, one for the childminding, and one for cleaning jobs, as I hope to find something to tide me over. I wish I had gone back to school earlier, and been able to be more independent. But, then I think I would never have met all these wonderful people at the Cardinal Hume Centre".
Laura 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 Laura, by making a donation to the Centre today: