Before lockdown, we had the pleasure of spending two days at the crisis centre. A number of the residents are fighting the urge to use drugs and alcohol and have been forced to escape abusive situations.
First, let’s discuss why people develop addictions. There are a number of reasons, but the common denominator is that people find it difficult to sit with their ‘feelings’. Feelings that stem from deep hurt, abuse, neglect, loneliness and more. It’s unsurprising, then, that orphanage leavers are susceptible and no coincidence that most of the women at the crisis centre grew up as orphans. Some have escaped violent spouses, have been abandoned or they are elderly, lonely and homeless. Drinking and taking drugs in response to a deeply painful situation can seem like a solution and an escape from immense pain.
What impacted us most during our visit was how different things can be when friends and support are a part of everyday life!
During the initial stages of the centre's recovery programme, physical addiction is addressed; mobile phones are removed for at least a year and women receive counselling. Other elements, such as daily Bible study, learning routine and responsibilities as parents and towards each other, develop a sense of purpose, being needed and feeling valued.
We have questioned why so many of the women end up staying for several years instead of ‘recovering’ and moving on. Is it because they are not cured of their addictions? Are they still incapable of independent living? Even those women who seem to have moved on, or perhaps found healthy relationships, choose to stay within arm’s reach of the centre, needing to return often to this safe community that changed everything for them.
This centre does not provide a temporary fix… it is a complete lifestyle change. Which is why it works! Patching a person up and sending them back to an isolated, unsupported environment or the same abusive situations would deteriorate their mental health and greatly increase the likelihood of relapse.
So, perhaps achieving total independence would be the wrong thing for these women because, like many of us, finding a secure loving community is key for well-being… and for these vulnerable women, who arrive with nothing, maintaining this contact keeps them on a safe and sober path.
The centre’s reputation of ‘not turning anyone away’ has spread far and wide. 18 year old orphan girls to elderly women have come to this place as their last chance of hope.
We are passionate about what this centre does for over 53 women and children. They are at capacity, and their minimal running costs exceed £1,000 every month.
This coronavirus pandemic is putting the future of the centre in jeopardy. Some of their income comes from the women’s jobs and many have been let go. As unregistered orphans, most jobs were unofficial, making them ineligible for benefits.
School closures means their 28 children are not receiving free school meals twice a day and their food bill has increased three times what it was.
The residents have started sewing face masks to sell but is raising nowhere near enough to make ends meet.
During this crisis we hope to increase our support to the centre to compensate for their drop in income and increased food costs. Please consider if you can help with a one off donation or by SPONSORING A FAMILY!