Always dare to ask for help

After a nasty divorce, Lies was left alone with three children living at home. Volunteer Ria was her first external social contact for years. It was a golden touch.

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“After a nasty situation with domestic violence, I found myself alone with three children living at home. No more parents, no social network, financially tight. I survived. Through Safe Home I heard about Home-Start. One evening – I was desperate – I sent them an email. That I was looking for a kind of mother for me and a grandmother for the children. There was the emptiness. That’s how Ria came into our lives. My first social contact from the outside in years.

Ria asked, ‘What can I do for you, what do you want to talk about?’ I could say anything to her without burdening my other relationships, very liberating. She changed my feelings of inadequacy into a sense of self-worth. Then she said, ‘Hey, I smell fabric softener. You’ve already done some washing.’ Then I thought in surprise: oh yes, indeed. And when we talked, it turned out that I could give her tips too.

I am now much more open about my situation. For example, this year there was no money for my daughter’s birthday. I asked the church if people would send her a card. They came by with gifts, cards and tickets to a large indoor playground. The kids had the day of their lives. Or a mother cleaning out her daughter’s wardrobe and asking: ‘Is this something for your daughter?’ There are often very nice things in between.

Ria helped me not only as a mother but also as a woman. I learned that you don’t have to give up the activities you enjoy and are important just to be the cleaner, the cook and the bed maker. Where else do you get the energy you need to be there for the children?

They also have more respect for me now. Sometimes one look is enough to make sure they put their shoes on the rack. The children are now more comfortable in their own skin. Ria played games with them because I didn’t have the energy then – but I do now. I am more myself, and more mother.

On Ria’s advice, I also reviewed my electricity and telephone contracts. Last year I signed a fixed energy contract for three years. I am so happy about that now. Home-Start was discontinued a year ago, but it still works. I arranged therapy for the children and I am doing a resilience course myself.

Always dare to ask for help. I found a big part of myself because of it.”

Ria

“About twelve years ago, I saw a call from Humanitas in the regional newspaper. They were looking for volunteers for Home-Start, which was new at the time. It immediately appealed to me to come home to families. Sit next to someone and relax listens for a while There is of course more help, but there is often a different view, it is more solution-oriented Often someone knows what is best, but he or she only has to discover it By talking about it together, such a solution emerges .

It was the same with Lies. She is a very sweet and sweet person. When I came to her, she was going through a tough time with domestic violence. A lot had happened. At first she was of course very upset, but I quickly noticed that Lies is a fighter. After a while she became more free in her activities. When I played games with the children, she would cook and then sit down. Later we also had a lot of laughs. Of course, it can also just be fun.

In the meantime, she has achieved a lot, but this is what she is fighting for. She has three children living at home and three from another relationship with whom she no longer had contact. Because Home-Start re-energized her, she made efforts to reconnect with the other children. We never discussed that, she started doing it on her own. The contact with her older children is now good again, just like with the father. I think that’s so nice.

I also learned a lot from Lies, especially how she handles life. Even after the difficult time, she is still a happy woman, nice to everyone. When she asks people for help, they want to help her. If something doesn’t work, she just keeps looking for what works. The church also gives her great support. We still visit each other every now and then and drink a cup of coffee. I don’t have contact with all the families I’ve been in, but sometimes I think: I have to keep it in my pocket.’

Read more about Home-Start.

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