‘The friend that never tires’
Over time, the cost of travelling to Europe regularly visiting my husband in prison became a burden I could no longer shoulder alone. It was at this time that a sister told me about HHUGS and suggested they may be able to help. HHUGS was still in its early years. The sister came all the way from London, hundreds of miles away, to meet us. It was wonderful to finally feel like we had somebody who understood and would stand by us, to truly be by our side.
They were a great support for me. At the time, I was alone with just a few sisters in the same situation, so it was great to find someone who was brave enough to contact me because it was not easy for people to reach out to us.
They began financially supporting us with travel expenses. Without them, my children would not have been able to build a relationship with their father. I could not have done it without their help. It was such a relief. They truly provided an immeasurable support and happiness in this test. They helped us with monthly food vouchers, with which we were able to do regular shopping, paid for activities for the children and supported us with the related school expenses. We were living in such isolation at the time I was scared to send my children to public school for the sake of their wellbeing and HHUGS helped me to achieve this. Throughout the years, their support built them like a shield and they acquired good habits. When winter would come, they would help us with the cost of the extra bills. HHUGS also paid for me to gain a teaching diploma to increase my chances of finding a job, which I completed successfully alhamdulillah.
And it wasn’t just the financial help, though that was a significant part. What meant most to me was the emotional support. They would always contact us, ask about our welfare, send a keyworker, and enquire about our current needs and situation. They were always there, making sure we were looked after; if I ever needed emotional support, or problems with the media, or a solicitor, I knew I could call them and someone will respond in my time of need. Since HHUGS came into my life, I have always felt that I have someone to rely on.
When a member of the family is arrested some of your friends are afraid to be tainted with guilt by association; so at a time when you need more support, you in fact find yourself more alone. You are afraid to make problems for others. That is why HHUGS’ role is so important since they do not hesitate to approach you if they know you are in difficulty. They welcome you with open arms. It’s different from a friend, because friends get tired – but you know that if you call HHUGS they are never tired, they are always here to help you, to listen to you, whatever the subject. It made my burden lighter. I cannot thank them enough.
Sometimes you might want to help people in need, but you don’t know the best way or you aren’t able to organise it yourself. HHUGS is already set up and doing that job very effectively – they just need your financial support. You might not be able to do anything physically, but your donations to HHUGS will let them do it in the best way. They will let you play your part for many people who you have never met or even realised you can help. Every single contribution you make will bring happiness and relief to Muslim families. There is no organisation like HHUGS, doing the work they do, so it’s very important we support them so they can continue their important work.
You never feel alone when HHUGS is there. They’re a brotherhood, a community; always helping and always so generous. My children used to feel so sad when Eid would come. We would try to put on a brave face and be happy, but deep down our hearts were heavy. The pressure of our life meant I wasn’t able to put on a big celebration for them. So when unexpected gifts from HHUGS would come through the door, it would bring such joy to our home. Every Eid, there was always a card, an event for the children and presents. They never forgot us in these very sensitive moments; always a call to have news of us; always an invitation during Ramadhan. They did so much more than I was able to, at that time. For HHUGS to be able to give this feeling to my children is something I will always be thankful for, alhamdulillah.