“All people have different problems. Economy or different problems. Ours was the children problem.”
Ahmed and his wife, Lina, are from Afghanistan. Ahmed has been in the UK for 19 years but his wife, Lina, came over more recently and is still trying to learn English.
They now have 4 children under age 5. Ahmed is self-employed and works non-stop to support his family. While Ahmed is out all day, Lina stays home to look after the children.
Lina started to feel she never had any time for herself while looking after the children 24/7. She began to think about finishing her studies at college. She was under time pressure to learn English so she could pass her Life in the UK test. And she wanted an adult female friend to chat with. The family were referred to Safe Families to see if any of our volunteers could help. We found one that could…Hannah.
“Lina never had a friend before but she feels she’s got a friend now”, says Ahmed.
“I know it is a very short time we’ve been introduced to Hannah but we feel like we’ve known her for a long time. We feel like home every time she comes and children look forward to see her and so does my wife because she gets on with her really well.”
Hannah comes every week to take the two middle children to a nearby toddler group, where the children make a beeline for the toy cars, following up their little car drive with some play dough, trampolining and soft play. It gives Lina a chance to rest, get dressed, go to the dentist or anything else she needs to do. She’s now been able to get to the point where she’s signed up for English classes due to start at the end of the summer.
“You guys all came into my life and you built my life back together”, says Ahmed. “I don’t know what to say! I will just say, ‘Thank you very much for helping’.”
When asked what’s kept her motivated, Hannah says, “I think just knowing that I’m able to help a family in such an easy way. I’m no expert; I’m not trained in social care but this family is entrusting me with their children. It’s a win-win for everybody. Lina gets that time, whether to go to the dentist, or settling a child in nursery. The children are having so much fun out and for me to see that joy in their faces is really lovely.”
We need more volunteers like Hannah to help support children and parents who need a helping hand.