From a young age, Leila had seen her mum experience domestic violence. They came to the UK looking for safety. With care and support from our practitioners, she was able to rebuild her life. Since then, she's graduated from university and volunteered with us. Now she works with us to ensure other vulnerable young people have the support they need.
children domestic abuse
Some of Leila's earliest memories were of her mum experiencing domestic violence. It was scary. She dreamed of a different world, of an escape.
'When I was a teenager, my mum brought me and my siblings to the UK in search of safety. We were sent to a city we’d never heard of and were in the asylum system for a number of years. It was an uncertain, intimidating time, and we lived in fear of being sent back.'
Moving at Christmas
They arrived at Christmas. The streets were twinkling, music was playing, and people seemed happy.
‘We made friends with people from the refugee community and other people in our new town, who were welcoming and supportive. Finding a community we could be part of made a real difference to our wellbeing.’
‘Meeting project workers from The Children’s Society did too. They were friendly and kind and offered us the support we needed.’
They helped us find ways to feel safe and secure in our new lives
‘For my mum, that was practical support and advice. For my siblings, that was activities with other young people in our area. And for me, that was someone to talk to.’
Getting help for abuse
Leila was struggling with her mental health when she met our project worker Joanne. She had been through a lot and found it difficult to open up. She didn’t know what to say.
‘I wasn’t ready to talk to her at first, but she kept reaching out and gradually we got to know each other. The Children’s Society never gives up on a young person. Joanne was there for me all the time and any time.'
She helped me start volunteering at a charity bookshop, and that was a game changer.
Gradually the city that Leila and her family were sent to became a place they could call home. She felt a sense of warmth and security there. They finally belonged.
‘I went to university and after I graduated, I applied for a job at The Children’s Society. Every day in my role, I see how the organisation and the people who work here help young people when they have nowhere else to turn.'
We fight for them and make time to see children thrive We fight for them and make time to see children thrive
Being there for others
‘For me, that regular one-to-one wellbeing support from Joanne made all the difference. I was able to find the security and safety I needed.'
‘I’m so grateful to The Children’s Society for being part of our journey, and to supporters like you for making their work possible.’
I owe a lot of who I am today to Joanne.
'Today the cost of living crisis is putting millions of young people at risk. Having to go without the essentials makes everything more difficult for young people. They’re facing a wellbeing emergency and it’s so important that we can be here for them now when it matters.'
‘Young people need your support more than ever this winter and every penny you donate makes a difference.'