After a nasty divorce, Lies is left alone with three children living in the house. Volunteer Ria had her first outdoor social contact in years. It was a golden touch.
“After a bad case with domestic violence, I found myself alone with three kids living at home. No more parents, no social network, financially strapped. I was alive. Through Safe Home, I heard about Home-Start. One evening – I was desperate – I emailed them, that I was looking for a kind of mother for me and a grandmother for the children. There was a void. 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 can say anything to her without the burden of my other relationships, which is very liberating. You turned my sense of inadequacy into a sense of self-worth. Then she said, “Hey, I smell fabric softener.” I’ve already done some laundry. Then I thought in amazement: yes, really. And when we chatted, it turned out that I could also give her advice.
I am now more open about my situation. For example, this year there was no money for my daughter’s birthday. She asked the church if people wanted to send her a card. They came 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 closet and asking, “Is this something for your daughter?” There are often very nice things in between.
Raya helped me not only as a mother, but also as a woman. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t give up on activities that you love and are important just to be the janitor, the cook, and the bed maker. Where else do you get the energy to be there for the kids?
They also have more respect for me now. Sometimes, one look is enough to make sure they put their shoes on the shelf. Babies are now more comfortable in their own skin. Ria played games with them because I didn’t have the energy back 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 was awarded a three-year fixed power contract. I’m happy about that now. Home-Start was finished a year ago, but it still works. I arranged a treatment for the children and I myself do a flexibility course.
Always dare to ask for help. I found a big part of myself because of it.”
“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. He immediately implored me to come to families’ homes. Sit next to someone and relax for a while. Listen.” There is of course more help, but often a different point of view, it is more solution-oriented.Often someone knows what is best, but he or she just has to figure it out.By talking about it together, such a solution emerges .
It was the same with lies. She is a very nice and kind person. When I came to her, she was having a hard time with domestic violence. A lot has happened. At first, of course, she was very sad, but soon she noticed that Lies is a fighter. After a while, she became more free in her actions. When I played with the kids, she would prepare food and then sit down. Later, we laughed a lot too. It can also be fun, of course.
Meanwhile, you have achieved a lot, but this is what you are striving for. She has three children living at home and three from another relationship with whom she no longer has contact. As Home-Start gave her energy again, she made an effort to reconnect with the other kids. We never discussed it, she started doing it alone. Communication with her older children was now good again, just as with the father. I think this is very nice.
I also learned a lot of lies, especially how you deal with life. Even after such a difficult time, she is still a happy woman, sweet to everyone. When she asks people for help, they want to help her. If something doesn’t work, she keeps looking for what works. The church also gives her a lot of support. We still visit each other every now and then and have a cup of coffee. I have no contact with all the families I have been to, but sometimes I think: I must keep this family in my pocket.
Read more about Home-Start.