52 Lives

#62 Sarama

Request: Household items / gift vouchers

This week, 52 Lives is trying to help a 21 year old woman called Sarama, and her 1 year old baby boy.

Sarama is from Eritrea and fled to the UK when she was 16, as an unaccompanied asylum seeker.

I heard about Sarama from a family nurse, who has been helping her.

Before arriving in the UK, Sarama suffered significant abuse. She knows very little about her birth family, as she hasn’t lived with them since the age of 7. She lived with various people from aged 7 to 16 and never had any formal education.

At 18, Sarama fell pregnant. She had never been with anyone before, and knew very little about birth control. She was devastated and considered a termination, but her faith prevented her from going through with it.

And so Sarama gave birth to her beautiful baby boy, Matts, in 2013. She was thrilled, but also extremely overwhelmed. Matts was on a child protection plan, due to Sarama’s traumatic childhood and lack of parenting herself - as well as her uncertain status in the UK.

Sarama and Matts had no access to public funds at this stage, and were in a desperate situation, living on little more than £20 a week. She was alone and very scared.

Since that time, Sarama has been granted a 5 year visa, and has started to settle into life in London. She is studying English and has even just completed a level 1 childcare certificate. Her dream is to eventually work in the health or medical field.

But now, Sarama is facing a new challenge. She turned 21 last month, which means she has had to leave her accommodation and move to a high-rise block of flats in part of London that she is not familiar with. She is very afraid of leaving the only support network she has ever known.

I can’t even begin to imagine the horrors that Sarama has experienced in her young life. And to come as far as she has, with her spirit, determination, and compassion still in tact is inspiring.

Sarama told her family nurse that she is going to do her best to create a warm and lovely home for her and Matts – the first proper home they will have ever had. But she has absolutely nothing, and noone to help her.

We want to help this little family start a fresh life together, with everything they need to make their new flat feel like a home.

So, this is what we need…

1. Household items (either new or good quality second hand)

Sarama desperately needs basic items such as kitchen utensils, saucepans, bedding, towels – pretty much everything you can think of! The family nurse is able to accept small items posted to the health centre in West London, but it is not possible to send or drop off large items.

2. Gift vouchers

So Sarama can buy some of the larger items she needs, including beds, a table, chairs etc. Choosing her own things would be an absolute luxury for her and something she never imagined would be possible.

What We Did

We have received £330 in Argos gift cards, as well as a whole range of furniture and household items - a mattress, TV, dining table, pots and pans, crockery, clothes for both of them, bedding, towels and much more.

Thanks so much to everyone who has helped so far....Liz Newling-Ward, Sophie Firth, Gilli, Fiona Herring, Ruth Buckley, Melody, Claire, Suzy & Jo, Karen Blick, Ana and Brett, Emma Haskell, Joanna Toms, Diana O'Neill, Amy Perry, Lorna Goodyear, Lucy Groenwood, Renata Peret (who donated a huge amount of furniture!), Claire Buckingham, Fiona Herring, Bex Lennox - and the lovely Sian Thomas for delivering the mattress and dining table that Liz so generously donated to her. Plus all of the anonymous donors.

Thank you all so much. Without you, Sarama and her son would have been living in an empty flat. Now they have a chance to make it a home.