Supporting frontline projects: Hana’s Story

This is the story of a survivor who was supported by our charity project partner, Ella’s Home, as told by Emily Chalke, project founder of Ella’s Home when reflecting on the past year:

There are lots of great stories from the past year.  One women’s story which I’ve found particularly inspiring is Hana’s*. We have worked with Hana for over three years and have journeyed with her for long enough to see her change from someone who had high support needs and was unable to focus on anything other than the multiple problems she faced to a woman who is thriving in her community. Now, she and her family are well and happy, in safe employment, Hana and her partner’s main concern is how they can continue to give their young children a good future and how they can give back to society for the support and help they received.

We have worked with Hana since she was referred to us in 2015 this was before we had opened Ella’s Home when we had just begun working with a few outreach clients.  Hana had received her positive Conclusive Grounds under the NRM but was still awaiting her immigration decision and was still in need of a lot of ongoing support.  Her housing was insufficient, a small room for herself, her partner (also a victim of trafficking) and their two small children. Their situation was having a huge detrimental effect on her health.  We supported Hana through her whole immigration process. We supported her during the hearing when the judge requested we take Hana out of the courtroom because she felt it was unfair that Hana was being put in the situation where speaking about her previous exploitation was causing such distress.

On the happy day of receiving her Leave to Remain status, everything changed again and we worked to support Hana through all the processes required by her new status (registering for a biometrics card and a National Insurance number, changing housing from National Asylum Support Service to Local Authority housing).

Usually, at this point, we would help a client to apply for benefits as Hana was now entitled to them under her new status. However, she did not want to access benefits because she said she wanted to work. She and her partner began work almost immediately, sharing the childcare.  Hana often says she now has everything she needs, the most important thing to her being that her children are safe and that they won’t face the same risks that she did in her country. They are healthy now without the stress and uncertainty of their future.

Recently, they were at their local Vietnamese church (where Hana and her partner had met), when the priest came over to Hana and introduced her to a young woman who was in a desperate state. Some people had brought her to the church earlier that day to get help.

The priest approached Hana to help, he explained that he thought the young woman had gone through a similar situation to her and would Hana want to help.  Hana took the young woman into her home, cleaned her up and provided for her immediate needs. This young woman had no possessions only the old clothes she was wearing.  She had been sleeping in train stations for several months.

Hana called us the next day. It was discovered that she had been trafficked into the country and sexually exploited. We helped to refer her to the NRM. The process took several weeks and during this time, Hana was able to support the young women.  During this time the young woman gradually began to open up and relax. She is now in an NRM safe house, but still goes to stay with Hana and family at the weekend.

Since being referred to Ella’s Home, Hana has made incredible progress, developing her independence and helping to support other survivors of modern slavery. The impact of the exceptional support provided by Ella’s Home has not only enabled one survivor to move on and move forward with their life but has enabled Hana to positively impact the lives of her family and her community.

Together, we go further and faster to end modern slavery.

*Not her real name. Some story details have been concealed to protect her identity. Case study courtesy of Ella’s Home.

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