I’m from Iraq. The war there was a special kind of hell on earth. When I came to the UK with my daughter, I thought I’d finally be safe and that I could put the mental and emotional trauma behind me.
But my neighbour had other ideas.
He was a drug addict who smoked cannabis from the moment he woke up to the moment he went to sleep.
The smoke seeped through his windows and into my house, even when I closed all the windows and doors. One day I looked at my four-year-old and saw her eyes had turned red as if she was smoking it too. I couldn’t even let her play in our garden because my neighbour was always smoking with his friends close by.
One day, I got so annoyed with my daughter being locked indoors that I knocked on his house and asked if he could at least close his windows.
He looked at me with pupils as big as a football, mumbled some words I won’t repeat, and then closed the door in my face.
After that, things only got worse. He started dealing drugs too, so his house was like a revolving door with all kinds of people going in and out.
I complained to the council and the police, but they both said without evidence he was dealing drugs, there was nothing they could do.
Moving was my only option. It seemed unfair that I had to turn my daughter’s life upside down just to get away from my neighbour, but I was a single mother who lived alone and I was starting to worry about our safety.
I contacted the National Zakat Foundation because I wouldn’t have been able to move without financial support.
An NZF Programme Officer gave me some practical advice about what to do while I was waiting to move, including keeping a diary of any incidents that happened. If I needed to phone the police again, at least I’d have a detailed log to show them.
After analysing my finances and seeing that I didn’t have much money left after paying my rent and living expenses, my Programme Officer told me that NZF was going to pay the £400 deposit I needed to move into my new house.
They also covered a few bills I hadn’t been able to pay, and they’re even looking at ways to help me pay off my council tax and the rent that I still owe my last landlord.
NZF’s support protected me and my daughter from a drug dealer who was becoming more and more spiteful towards us.
Even though the council and police couldn’t help me, NZF found a way to.
I sleep better at night now that we’re in a new house far from drugs and gangs. I even let my daughter play in our garden, knowing that no one will hurt her.
I would never have been able to move without NZF’s hardship grant. And now that they’ve paid some of my debt, I can concentrate on building the best future for me and my daughter instead of worrying about whether we’ll have enough money to eat.
But it’s not just about the money. I’m a single mother in a foreign country, and I’ve felt so alone since coming here. But NZF made me realise I have a family here too. I’m not as alone as I thought.
Some people think I don’t need any help now that I’m in the UK. They say there’s no such thing as poverty here, so they only donate to causes abroad.
But the same people they send money to in other countries are now living here on their doorstep.
I’m here to tell you that refugees in the UK still need help from Muslims – not just financially, but also emotionally and spiritually. That’s why NZF exists. They do all the hard work for you. All you have to do is give your Zakat through them, so people like me get the help they desperately need.
The National Zakat Foundation uses Zakat to support individuals in a transformative way, so they can be self-sufficient. Stay up-to-date with all our latest insights, stories, research and news – subscribe here for our monthly newsletter.
National Zakat Hotline: 03333 123 123 (Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm, local rates) or apply online apply.nzf.org.uk
This post is based on a true story.