Francesca, a mother of a seven-year-old*, had a long history of physical and emotional abuse from her family. Reaching breaking point and in the best interest of her child, Francesca made the decision to leave home due to these family issues. This led to retaliation from her family, stopping of previous financial support and even growing legal battles among them. Due to the toll that all of this was having on Francesca’s mental wellbeing, paired with time invested in supporting her child, she was unemployed at the time she came to us. She was also afraid and very anxious.
As well as welcoming Francesca and her child to the shelter we wanted to help them holistically so that they would have the best chance at starting their new lives. We provided Francesca with daily support, help with her child, counselling sessions, food donations, support in dealing with ongoing struggles with her family, confidence-building and also help in finding employment. Francesca started working full time and her residential support officer helped her with scheduling schooling, breakfast club, etc for her child, to enable her to be able to earn in the meantime.
YMCA helped her to reconnect with her family as she wished. Francesca put so much effort into starting a new chapter in her life while working on her previous traumas which on days sometimes became overwhelming for her. All the while she was afraid of the consequences their trauma may have had on her child and this was often a trigger for anxiety in Francesca. She had been totally devastated when she thought that she would end up living rough on the streets with her young child, so the fact that YMCA gave her a roof on her head was something that she truly appreciated.
We are now very proud that both Francesca and her child are living independently in a stable healthy environment. Francesca is happy and still in full-time employment and we still maintain regular contact to offer our support should it be needed.
Last time we had contact with her she said that she was so lost when she asked for help the first time but today no one can believe how different she is. She felt broken financially, physically and emotionally but managed to work on her issues with the help of our professional staff that we have working at our residential facility.
Dar Niki Cassar is a YMCA residential facility for homeless individuals, families, and children experiencing homelessness and rooflessness. Visit the YMCA Malta website for more information about their services. You may send a blank message on 50619212 for a donation of €11.65.
This is part of a series of blogs by YMCA Malta called Homeless but Hopeful
*not her real name