Three years ago, I was registered homeless due to personal reasons, since then I’ve been struggling to find my way back into society and back to a normal life.

Keeping my job, being on top of my bills and being in good contact with family and friends became impossible. I soon found myself having more serious of problems such as; finding a place to sleep for the night and finding food for the day. It was a terrifying experience and the fear of getting by each day will never leave me.

Slowly, I’ve managed to sort things out and today I have a flat I live in and friends I’m able to see quite frequently. The experience, however, made me lose all self-confidence and even the simplest socialising skills had left me. I had developed a real fear of losing everything all over again whenever I achieved something for myself. Basically, I became a timid and fearful person unable to decide for herself and take initiative.

Since starting this programme I’ve started to taste the life I had before. I put in effort with my appearance by dressing smartly, I say ‘hello’ to people each day and put my mind into the work experience I’m doing on their Employment Preparation Programme. I feel useful because I realise that I am capable of being part of a workplace and completing tasks required by this establishment.

Today is Friday and I’m at the end of my 4th week of my training programme. Twice a week I do four hours of work experience in the Marketing and Communications Team.

Contrary to what I expected of the programme, the first two weeks were filled with training based around teamwork and mixing with other people rather than some class teaching. I found that this was truly what I needed as it helped me get out of my shell and gave me my voice back. Then I was further surprised when in my third week I started my work experience and I was given the freedom to use my own initiative on a project. We are preparing a new flyer for the House and I am responsible for the initial ideas and designs. I was more expecting to answer phone calls and writing some e-mails within the office.

Since starting the programme, I feel I have a place in society, I can accomplish necessary tasks and I feel responsible for my input. I have lunch with other members of the academy, and we help each other with notes. Furthermore, the support the academy is providing extends much further than the 10-week programme. I will be having a mentor who will guide me in my choices and encourage me through the initial years of my work life.

The programme offers ‘yoga’ and ‘meditation’ courses that would benefit me forever if I choose to continue to use them.

Today, I am hopeful for my future.