It’s just after Fajr. The night is silent; the perfect opportunity to read Quran and draw closer to Allah. Then your front door smashes open and the Police are suddenly in your home, taking your laptop, mobile phones, books, even your Quran CDs. This is the first raid. The second time around you’re uncovered lying in your bed but that makes no difference. They leave with more private possessions and worst of all, your husband. Your front door is left broken for a week before being fixed, leaving you and your baby unsafe and vulnerable. This is what happened to Umm Summayah.

Both of Sudanese origin, Umm Summayah and her husband Mohammed had to endure the trauma of his arrest just five days before the birth of their first child by Caesarean, exacerbated by rejection from friends and the isolation of having no family in the UK. When she went into labour for twelve hours with no one to help her, HHUGS was on hand. ‘At the hospital the nurses kept asking “Are you by yourself? Don't you have anybody? Where is your husband?”‘ With no one else to turn to, the nurses called her HHUGS Key Worker. As the prison was many miles away, Mohammed only received the news several days later.

Summayah was in a state of complete shock; her husband had just been imprisoned and her baby had been born, completely detached from any network of family or friends to help her; topped with her fear of outsiders she was left vulnerable to post-natal depression. Umm Summayah also suffered with back problems, something that has been used against her in court as an “excuse” for staying in the country. It was even argued that she had her baby as a means of staying in the country, further adding to her deep distress. Umm Sumayyah was completely dependent on her husband prior to his arrest, and now found herself fearful of any outsiders and lacking confidence as she struggled with fluency in English. Confined to a very small room in an old dilapidated property, where she would barely venture out, Umm Summayah fell deeper into acute isolation, and would yearn for any contact with her husband and rely on his calls.  

“There were times I did not get to speak to my husband and when I asked, ‘Why don’t you call me?,’ he said he has ran out of money. I felt so bad… So I tried to save from the little money I had and sacrifice it so I can send him money just to call me for a few minutes a day”.

With him gone, Umm Summayah turned to her friends for support and to retain some stability but they subsequently abandoned her. Some even requested that she delete their numbers as they did not want “any trouble”.  

With the breadwinner now absent and with her own remaining maternity pay coming to an end, Umm Summayah was left with no income and suddenly found herself barely able to pay for food and basic essentials. Despite being in genuine need, she was at that time not in a position to claim benefits since she was not a UK resident, nor could she have returned to work, shortly after giving birth and with no one to look after son. Her landlord kept chasing her for six months’ rent that she had no means of paying.HHUGS intervention in Umm Summayah’s life came at just the right time, immediately clearing the six months’ rent arrears and settling her bills and debts. HHUGS paid for her rent directly thereafter and provided her with a monthly shopping voucher that covers living maintenance and food costs. HHUGS also sent monthly postal orders so that she could send these to her husband and thus be able to speak to him regularly on the phone.

Seven long months passed by before she could finally visit her husband. HHUGS was able to take her and her baby to finally visit her husband, HHUGS provided her with accommodation for the visit, to lessen the strain of the long journey. This became a regularly occurrence, with HHUGS helping to provide such visits, encompassing a 160 mile journey each way, once a month. Umm Summayah described the relief she felt in her simple English.

“I am low on income and depend on the provisions HHUGS provide for me, it benefits me a lot and helps me. I truly appreciate the financial support, also the taking and transport to the prison monthly help me a lot.”

As time passed, she felt better able to cope with HHUGS’ care and went on to successfully secure asylum seeker status. This meant Umm Summayah could leave the old single room where she stayed alone all day and move into a shared house where she has her own living space and the children have a shared play area. She enjoys her new home and gets along well with her new house mates. As an asylum seeker Umm Summayah now receives a monthly allowance, but HHUGS continues to provide her with a smaller shopping voucher and a post office utility bill card to ensure her needs are secure. She was also given important support in the form of HHUGS acting as an intermediary between her solicitor and the immigration case.

The beginning of 2013 was meant to see Mohammed’s case come to an end but he was rearrested for immigration reasons before this day came.  Eventually in October 2014, Umm Summayah’s  husband was released but was placed in a city 200 miles away from her. Being apart from her husband is difficult, but HHUGS pay for Umm Summayah to visit her husband for a few days every month by covering her travel and hotel expenses.

Imagine the huge weight of fear, responsibility and anguish that was alleviated when HHUGS entered her life and opened the doors of a safe haven. Umm Summayah puts it quite simply:

“The moral support and financial support are key elements, basic necessities for a person. When they don’t have this, you collapse. HHUGS has been very helpful to me and my family.   We feel you have uplifted us at our lowest point, may Allah reward you for all your support. HHUGS eases the burden of being a single mother. They help me to see my husband and my child to see his father. I know that someone cares and wants to help us.. May Allah reward those like HHUGS who have helped me.  .Your service is excellent, Masha ‘Allah

Umm Summayah’s husband wrote HHUGS’ and its donors a letter.

“It is through His mercy that I was introduced to you… when the world seem to fall apart on me and my pregnant wife”

“For the last two and a half years we’ve been together, we have felt nothing other than comfort, consulation, satisfaction and above all companionship. Right from visits,  calls of motivation, financial support, escorts, advice to moral support. – all these have a priceless tag on each and I beseech Allah to repay you all in this world and in the Hereafter, Ameen. May Allah ease all your affairs… Allah will endlessly help those who Help in His Cause”