Mehret, Abenezar and Jenna’s Story

As an asylum seeker, Mehret fled poverty, political unrest and ‘lots of bad people’ that took advantage of impoverished women and children in Ethiopia. She left behind her much loved mum, dad, brother and sister, who she dearly misses, and with no family support around her, Mehret was anxious about the impact the birth of her second baby would have on her son Abenezar. He had been used to having her to himself for almost three years, and this would be a momentous change for him. Mehret also worried how she would cope with her new baby and son after the birth, especially if it proved to be a difficult one.

We introduced our HSTSW volunteer, Jenna, to Mehret and they immediately hit it off. Jenna has two children born closely together, and so they often talked about what it’s like loving and caring for two, which proved a great source of comfort to Mehret.

Jenna also had a wonderful relationship with Abenezar who relished the time they spent playing and reading together. After baby Mi was born, she also joined the family on playgroup visits to offer her support.

“ I loved Jenna’s kind and gentle ways”, says Mehret, with a smile. “Jenna would play with Abenezar while I looked after Mi, or rested.

Now Jenna’s support has ended we do miss her, but she’s provided us with lots of reassurance and tips, as well as practical help.”

A children’s centre worker who was also supporting the family, praised the help given by volunteer Jenna and the HSTSW team:

“Home-Start offers a great service. They really supported Mehret by befriending her during a time of isolation. This meant she could turn to Jenna whenever she had worries or concerns, which prevented any escalation of the issues Mehret was facing.”

The HSTSW team also helped Mehret solve an issue with her landlord, gave email assistance to enable communication with UK Immigration, along with referrals to other charities, such as Baby Bundles, Wood Street Mission and BookStart.

Today, Mehret is taking English classes, confidently going along to various playgroups and making friends in the area. Even though she is only just coping in her one-bedroomed, cramped flat, she is reluctant to move to larger accommodation in case this means leaving the area where she is beginning to feel at home.

About Jenna

Jenna became a HSTSW volunteer after discovering the charity on Facebook.

“Volunteering for Home-Start has been a real eye opener,” she enthused. “It’s been very rewarding and helping a family that required and benefited from my support has given me great fulfillment.”

“Volunteer training from Home-Start is first class,” she continued. “It really does prepare and educate you for your time as a volunteer.

The training from The University of Salford midwives was also very valuable; I was able to pass on what I learnt from them during my volunteering. I felt I had more professional knowledge, rather than just from my own personal experience of being a mum.”

Jenna has been offered places at three universities to study midwifery – a real achievement, as it’s a highly competitive process.