One of the Hodan’s service users told us her experience from arriving in the UK in 2001.
“This community is our backbone”
After arriving with her son and speaking no English, Mrs. X found settling in the UK to be very difficult and struggled with depression and isolation. She was introduced to Hodan in 2005 by friends from the local Somali community. She described the way Hodan has helped her with “all aspects” of her life and the importance of the organisation to the local Somali population in providing support, advice and the opportunity to “understand everything about life here”.
Mrs. X faced further difficulties when she was diagnosed with cancer, but the support Hodan provided in accompaniment to hospital appointments to translate and explain the system helped her through this. The advice and information Hodan provides on budgeting, utilities and state support has allowed Mrs. X to improve her financial resilience.
She has particular appreciation for the weekly women’s exercise classes which have greatly improved her sense of health and wellbeing, as well as the organised trips to places such as Kensington Palace which she says have given her the opportunity to meet new people and learn about the UK’s history and culture.
Mrs. X considers the help Hodan gave her in joining a local college ESOL class as one of the most important things in empowering her and allowing her to feel settled in the UK. Through this she has been able to meet new people from outside the Somali community and feels more empowered and independent. The support network she has developed now through Hodan is important to her mental wellbeing and sense of belonging. Without the advice and support of Hodan, Mrs. X imagines life would be “horrible, not worth imagining”.