It has been 15 years since Hani fled Somalia and came to the UK with her five children. Starting a new life in London wasn’t easy. Hani had high hopes about the city and the kind of life she could now live with her family but the sorrow of her past was hard to leave behind.

Hani had lost three of her children and the grief she experienced was crippling. She struggled to find the energy required to raise three children on her own. Unable to keep up with the costs of raising a family alone, Hani was forced to register as homeless. Soon after she came into contact with CARAS, Hani fell ill and was hospitalised.

CARAS stepped in, ensuring that her children had a place to stay, were well looked after, and able to continue with their education. They attended our youth groups where they always had somebody who they could turn to when they were feeling upset or stressed. We paired Hani’s children up with volunteer mentors, who met with them regularly and helped them with their homework.

We also visited Hani regularly while she was in hospital, made sure she had everything she needed and kept her company through her recovery. Once she was feeling better, we supported Hani to secure permanent accommodation that was comfortable and spacious enough for her family. Hani started attending our women’s cooking group, where she made friends from all over the world who had experienced similar hardships.

15 years later and Hani is still very much a part of CARAS. She rarely calls on us for help any more. She doesn’t need to because her English is good, she has a close knit friendship group who she can call on for help, and she is happy. Instead she volunteers with us, taking young refugees on summer camping trips or cooking at community events. Her children are adults now and all at university and it’s always a pleasure to see them again when they volunteer with their mother at events.

Help us to be there for more women like Hani – donate to our Christmas Appeal.