Up until a few years ago, I was just like any other 30-year-old. I had a degree, a good job, and I was just starting to think about settling down.
But then I had a car accident and suffered a severe brain injury that affected my memory. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but living with a disability was life-changing.
My life changed overnight. I had to move back in with my elderly parents and rely on them for extra support, even though I didn’t want the added pressure on them. That arrangement worked for a little while, but when my dad died suddenly, my mum decided to move back to Morocco and it was up to me to take care of myself again.
Because the house was in my dad’s name, I wasn’t able to get any housing benefits to help pay the rent. My disability and unemployment benefits weren’t enough to cover it, and I also had the council tax, bills and other living expenses to think about. I fell behind on the payments within a matter of weeks.
It got to the stage where I felt utterly overwhelmed by bills, my disability, and the shock of losing my dad.
That’s when I decided to contact the National Zakat Foundation.
NZF acted quickly
My Programme Officer did a great job of listening to me and offering some solutions. She was really helpful, and she gave me some practical support on how to get the house in my name so I could apply for housing benefits that covered my rent.
Even though I was embarrassed to tell her I couldn’t afford to buy essential clothing, she made me feel like I was talking to a friend and told me I had no reason to feel ashamed.
NZF knew my situation was urgent, so they acted quickly. Within a couple of days, they’d given me a cash grant for food and a clothing voucher so I could buy myself the clothes I desperately needed but couldn’t afford.
They also paid two months of my council tax bills that bridged the shortfall I couldn’t have met on my own. Once the house was in my name, the council would take over and help me pay off my debts.
They gave me peace of mind
I don’t really like to think about where I’d be without NZF’s help. If they hadn’t given me money for food, quite simply, I would’ve starved. Their practical and financial support saved me from getting into even more debt, and because of them, I was able to get rid of all my ripped clothes and buy some new ones.
NZF gave me peace of mind and made me feel safe and protected. Without them, I would’ve fallen through the cracks while I waited for paperwork to be shuffled from desk to desk in a council office somewhere.
Considering the daily difficulties I have to live with because of my disability, I wouldn’t have been able to cope mentally without the additional support NZF gave me.
My Programme Officer made sure I was getting enough help from the council, and stayed with me throughout this challenging journey until things were settled.
The council might be supporting me now, but your Zakat is the reason I’m standing here today.