Zaynab’s Story

I was homeless, I had glaucoma, was almost blind. I was going to hospital and having treatment for it. For a couple of weeks I slept on the streets and then I got a place in a night shelter. That’s when I came here.

I used to come here during the day. There was no shower in the shelter so I used to take showers here, do my washing here. I ate here. I had lots of counselling. I have mental health problems as well so it was good in coping with my manic depression. I just talked about my life, everything about me. That was very helpful.

Then I was put in temporary accommodation and support workers from women@thewell helped me to find my own flat. Someone always accompanied me for viewing flats and I found that most helpful. When I got a flat women@thwell helped me to furnish it. They contacted a furniture charity and got me a bed, cupboard, chest of drawers, wardrobe, cutlery and plates and cups. They also helped me to apply for the Social Fund to get some money to buy carpets, a cooker, bedding and things like that.

I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to cope because I couldn’t see. I thought, ‘My god, how am I supposed to manage on my own in this flat?’ Roxanne filled in some forms for me, helped me with Disability Living Allowance. We also went to the council’s Sensory Team together. They got me some daylight lighting for the house, to help me see better. They also recommended me to RNIB and we went there together too. Now I feel good because I have been there for some time and I still have support from women@thewell. I feel much better that I have somewhere. I used to feel so anxious, so insecure. I had lots of mental health problems. Now I feel more secure.

When I was young I used to be an office worker. I went to college and learnt various skills - typing book-keeping, shorthand. I worked as an office worker for a long time. Now I’m doing a computer course – Office 2010. I also started voluntary work after I got the flat. I can touch type, so at another charity I help them type for their newsletter. I also write some articles myself. And I did some work for another support group too. That was all as a result of finding the flat. I felt a lot better about myself. Before that I had a very low opinion of myself. I was really disillusioned. I felt that I had failed somehow. Everything is much better now. I feel positive about myself.