This might look like a normal old desk but for the 11 year old boy it belongs to, it means the world.
A few months ago we helped a mum and her 2 children who had been living in extreme poverty.
The mum, Chantel, had been living in the UK for 16 years and was working full time as a teaching assistant. Her Visa was dependent on her partner, but he was abusive and eventually abandoned them, so she had to apply for a new Visa. Her application was rejected as they didn’t feel she had enough funds support the children. So Chantel had to leave her job, and also wasn’t eligible to claim normal benefits. They were destitute. For almost a year, she had to rely on friends and donations from her local church to feed and clothe her children.
They were living in a damp, mouldy 1 bedroom flat and often ran out of money on their electricity meter, which was a constant source of fear and anxiety for her son, who has autism. He would check the meter the moment he got home from school and continue the checks all evening – he was terrified that the lights would go off again.
Chantel begged her local council for help for 8 months, but they (incorrectly) told her that no support was available to her. The local mayor has since apologised and Chantel and her children are now receiving some basic support, they have also been rehoused and she in the process of getting her Visa sorted out.
Although they’ve moved, her son still attends the same secondary school which means Chantel, her son and her 2 year old daughter get up at 5.30am and travel for an hour and 20 minutes to get to his school. She can’t afford to make the journey more than twice a day, so Chantel and her 2 year old wait all day for her son to finish school – either at a local charity centre or in Asda.
Thr 52 Lives community helped this family in so many ways - but most recently we bought this desk, computer and printer for her son. We found out he was having to stay back at school to use the library computer and wanted to buy him one of his very own so he could go home at the same time as his classmates.
Thank you so much to everyone who helped.