This week, we’d like to help a teenage girl called Denae, who cares for her mum.
When Denae was 11 years old, her mum developed various medical conditions that reduced her mobility. Her mum became dependent on her for her daily care. At this young age, Denaue would get up early to get her mum dressed and ready, make breakfast, then prepare her mum’s lunch so she had something to eat while Denae was at school. In the evening, she would help bathe her mum and get her ready for bed.
Denae’s sister and her 6 children (one who has autism) had to moved in for a period of time. This helped Denae in some ways, as there was someone else to care for her mum, but the flat was seriously overcrowded and Denae felt overwhelmed.
It is just Denae and her mum now, which has given her some space of her own again. But it has also meant that all of her mum’s care has fallen back onto Denae’s shoulders.
Their flat is in a bad state. They barely have any furniture, and what they do have is mostly broken. Denae’s bed is smashed in the middle, she has no curtains, a makeshift desk, no storage space and none of the things she needs for school. They have no table, and usually eat on their laps or in their bedrooms.
Denae was nominated by a youth worker, who said she is so bright and ambitious, but has far too much to deal with. Danae has a dream to go to Cambridge University and ultimately to become a surgeon. “She has been working around the clock, studying and caring for her mum, and she has worn herself out.”
The Covid 19 pandemic has made life even harder for Denae. Her regular respite at school has been taken away, and all the effort she has put in for her studies feels wasted.
“It feels to Denae like another blow. She could really do with a win in her life right now.”
Even before the lockdown, Denae rarely saw her friends, and now she doesn’t leave the house at all – not even to shop for food or to exercise - for fear of bringing home the virus to her mum. Her mum is struggling with depression, and feels guilty for everything Denae has to do for her.
With your help, we want to give Danae a little sanctuary where she can study and rest. We’d also like to help buy her and her mum some of the things they need to make the rest of the flat feel more like a home.