Jane and Sadia, two of our new Commissioners will be blogging each month, sharing their thoughts, experiences and what it means to be a Poverty Truth Commissioner.
In the sixth of the series, Sadia shares her thoughts and the thoughts of others on the impact of poverty on families seeking asylum.
I have done so much thinking about poverty and how it’s affecting many families in my community of which most of them are single mothers. I had a chance to discuss my thoughts and also hear the women discussing how there is a lot of fear, worries and frustrations just to think of how to meet the demands of holidays. For instance, things like their peers getting a break and them not able to get away for even one night.
The women discussed how things like this affect the moods in the house, children demanding and mums not being able to give them what they want because they cannot afford the money and also that to most families on low income, events and activities doesn’t come as a priority to them. All the mums want is to make sure the little money they get is going to most basic needs of which is very hard for the children to understand. Why their families can’t afford and yet their friends can? It’s hard to explain to children the complications of benefits, Jobcentre and how hard it is to do the job you want with Jobcentre demands and sanctions. My community group at Saheliya also expressed concerns over how expensive character clothing are priced. You cannot afford to spend £10-£15 on one-character clothing, and what if you have 3 young children?
There were a lot of questions and concerns discussed between us with no answers, what is the solution to end this poverty within our communities? How about the holidays coming? Children discuss holidays in schools and wish they could go to holidays local or abroad too. Some of us can’t even afford holiday even in the beautiful boarders of Scotland. Could they be considerable discount for holiday packages for some low income venerable families living in poverty? Poverty is real and it is affecting most of families in our communities.
I want to continue to raise my voice and our voice with the Poverty Truth Commission. We need to continue meeting, discussing and looking to keep going, to take things forward.
The three working groups reflect how people are suffering: cuts, mental illness and asylum. More cuts mean more suffering and more people in poverty and having mental illness. Poverty creates tension in families. This tension and poverty can lead to addiction, to homelessness, to poor prospects. The cuts are making people ill and sick. The fear the cuts bring is leading to mental illness. A lot of people are affected by this. The behaviour of young people is affected by growing up in poverty.
Yet still I live with hope that things can change.