Case Study One
Precious* comes from Cameroon* and claimed asylum after being trafficked and subject to repeated rape. The physical impact of this was compounded by having suffered female genital mutilation as a young child. When she arrived in the UK she was severely traumatised by these experiences and this trauma was further exacerbated by being pregnant. She was sent to Liverpool for the duration of her asylum claim and arrived in a state of depression, anxiety and great stress. She didn’t know anybody and felt extremely isolated. A health visitor came to see her and suggested that she contact MRANG, advising her to explain her problems to us and that we would help her and that she would get the chance to meet other mothers. When she came to MRANG she was supported through the rest of her pregnancy and MRANG provided a birth partner when she gave birth and took her home afterwards, explaining what was needed and giving advice on looking after the newborn. With MRANG’s help, she was able to bond with her child. Precious says that ‘MRANG has done many things for me, it is like a family, a home, I feel relieved and happy when I am here. I have people to talk to, there are people who have helped and supported me with my case and given advice. Only God knows where I would be without MRANG, it has given me hope that things will be ok. Before I was shy and introverted, now I am a confident mother.’ MRANG has also opened up social networks for her. If she bumps into fellow asylum seekers at places like the doctor’s surgery she tells them to go to MRANG. She herself has brought five different women to be part of the drop-in group. Whilst Precious is still waiting for a decision to be made on her asylum claim and many aspects of her life are ‘in limbo’ until she receives a decision, MRANG has made a huge difference to her. The support we provide has enabled her to understand the lengthy and complicated asylum process which has helped to reassure her, it has supported her through first time motherhood and the difficulties of parenting a child born through difficult circumstances. We have also helped her transition from a state of fear and anxiety to one of confidence and hope, helping her develop coping skills and providing a safe place for her to go to
Case Study Two
Arjana* comes from Armenia * and came to the UK seeking asylum after being trafficked into continental Europe and fleeing to the UK, where she was further pursued by traffickers. Another asylum seeker brought her along to MRANG’s drop-in group for the first time. This was at a time when she was very depressed, she says that she felt very shy attending the group, she didn’t trust anyone and was not willing to talk to people. However, she says that ‘ I needed help because I knew that with these mixed feelings I would develop serious mental health problems’. The asylum seeker who introduced her to MRANG had been in a similar situation when she first arrived and encouraged her to go along. Arjana says that ‘MRANG has boosted my confidence, they have been there for me when I needed help with my asylum case, with the GP or support with housing problems. The counselling I have received at MRANG has helped me cope with my current circumstances. If I did not go to MRANG then I would be at home crying, feeling rejected and with no friends. MRANG has enabled me to rebuild my self esteem, socialise with other women and make friends. It is a place to call home. I have been supported during my trafficking case and the counsellor at MRANG was very helpful during our sessions. She handled my case with a lot of confidence and sensitivity. Through the MRANG drop-in Arjana has accessed counselling, made friends and begun to feel relaxed and part of a place where she can be at ease. She has recently started to volunteer within the group which has helped to improve her sense of worth and self esteem and she says that is has also enabled her to give something back to MRANG after all the help she has received. With MRANG’s help her self esteem and her ability to cope and interact with others has advanced considerably from the first time she walked through our doors.
Case Study Three
Patience* lived in Sudan* with her father, his seven wives and over forty of his children. Her mother wanted more freedom so she moved to another house. Patience was left to be looked after by the other wives and her father and was mistreated and beaten on a regular basis. She moved to the UK where she claimed asylum and was granted refugee status. In the UK, she had a child who she disciplined and treated in the same way in which she had been raised. She thought that this was a normal way of parenting. As a result of this mistreatment the child developed emotional and behavioural difficulties and was removed by social services at the age of two. When she became pregnant again her newborn child was removed from social services from the hospital a week after the birth. She was extremely distressed and received support from a midwife experienced in multi cultural awareness. She started attending a nurturing course and was put in touch with MRANG by the midwife. At MRANG she received counselling support and emotional support to help her with her separation from her children. Her relationship with her social worker was difficult and the social worker told her that she was recommending her children be adopted. MRANG’s counsellor and caseworker worked with Patience at length. After some time she started to understand that she had made mistakes with her child and that this had had devastating consequences. She became willing to work with social services with MRANG’s support and the nurturing classes she had attended made her feel more confident about parenting. She came to understand what being a mother involved and that the treatment she had received as a child was not the norm and was not acceptable as a way of raising her own children. MRANG attended a number of assessment sessions with Patience and her social worker. These were essential as the social worker had not received cultural awareness training and was unable to understand the background Patience was coming from. We assisted Patience to better explain her background and the journey she had made in understanding what it meant to care for a child. MRANG was able to act as a bridge over the cultural divide that separated Patience and her social worker. Over time we worked to give her confidence, self esteem, to recognise the mistakes she had made and to give her confidence to change. It was to everyone’s delight that the courts and social services recognised this change and took the decision to return Patience’s baby to her. Patience now attends MRANG’s drop-in on a weekly basis where she receives parenting support and continues to see her counsellor as needed. MRANG supports her and encourages her, giving advice on parenting whenever she asks for it
*name and country of origin have been changed