Salma was a victim of human trafficking and modern slavery who was forced to come to the UK by her controlling, drug-addict husband to make money to send back to Bangladesh. Salma was forced into domestic servitude. Cooking and cleaning, being paid a few pounds a month with no time off. It was here at these homes she was subjected to sexual harassment and beaten when she did not ‘do a good enough job’.
Salma came to RWA whilst she was asylum seeker. When she came to us she struggled to construct sentences in English and sobbed not just as a result of her traumatic experiences but also from the frustration that she could not express herself. Having been locked up in different homes, she knew nothing about her rights or the help from services she was eligible to receive. We supported Selma with ESOL courses where she made friends. Our advisors and training officer provided her with emotional support and carried out extensive casework regarding healthcare, housing, immigration and welfare benefits.
When Salma was granted refugee status the first person she contacted was RWA. She would refer to us as her ‘real family’. We helped her open her first ever bank account and taught her essential tasks such as using a cash machine- something we all take for granted! We helped register her at a GP and made sure she was receiving specialist support. Living in some of the most dire conditions. She would often say to us, her “…dream in life is to live in a safe and quiet home by herself, with a separate bedroom and living room”, something which to many may seem insignificant but for her, a figment of her imagination. We made it our mission to make sure that she received suitable and safe housing. She was finally given permanent accommodation! She even asked us go along with her to view the property and celebrated as she signed her tenancy agreement. We helped fundraise for essential items and helped set up her with utility companies and services which she had no understanding or knowledge of. Salma showed determination and commitment and continued her ESOL courses, and today she is proud to tell everyone in confident English, that she holds ESOL Entry level 3 accredited certificates.
During the journey, Salma was able to discover hobbies which she had never had the opportunity to explore. She expressed interest in running and yoga and with the help of RWA, was enrolled onto these classes. However, she would say on the days she did not have English class, she felt like she had no purpose or self-worth becoming depressed and on some occasions had suicidal thoughts. After motivation and encouragement, she decided that her own well-being and happiness was only achievable by herself and she enrolled onto further classes. Her confidence soared and her mind-set completely changed- for the first time in her life she felt positive about her future and in control.
Today she is in charge of her own appointments and finances and still visits us when she seeks advice and reassurances. She mentions how every time she thinks about the person she was when she first sought our help and how different she is from that person today, in control of her own life with a bright future ahead her full of opportunities and that this would have not been possible without RWA’s help and support throughout the years, and how grateful she is for finding our organisation several years ago.
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