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Lily

Lily 300 pxls

“Without my support worker and YMCA staff, I wouldn’t be where I am now”

I had nowhere to go and no plans

I grew up in Somalia and lost my parents when I was small. The only family I have left is an aunt, who I was staying with until our relationship reached breaking point and she asked me to leave. I can’t put into words how I felt the night I left – sad, angry, relieved – every emotion. I had nowhere to go and no plans. For weeks I slept on friends’ sofas. Then I heard about YMCA West London .

Now I see what a family should be like

They asked if I’d be interested in their Supported Lodgings programme with host families. For once, something good was happening to me. Now I see what a family should be like. I’m glad to be part of it and feel I fit in. Angel, my host, tries not to tell me what to do, but checks if I’m ok or if I need help with anything.

Dreams for the future

Living here has given me a stable environment and support that I’ve never had before. I’m at college studying photography, but my dream – since going to a YMCA workshop – is to work in international development. I’m not scared. I’ve lived in a difficult country, but I got out and want to help others who can’t.

I learned I could be happy despite my past

I used to feel sorry for myself, but through YMCA I met people in similar situations who were turning their lives around. I learned I could be happy despite my past. Without my support worker and YMCA staff, I really wouldn’t be where I am now.