Riha* had been concerned about her daughter Jayani’s emotional wellbeing for some time before the chance arose to refer her to Kineara’s intervention, Motivate to Educate (M2E). As a family link worker who had interpreted for families taking part in our programme in a local school, Riha had seen the benefits first hand and thought the programme would be just what Jayani needed.
“I could see she was bottling things up and was feeling insecure about some things. She was lacking in confidence and with this being her final year in primary school, I was looking for some extra support to give her a confidence boost and see if she would be able to talk more with someone who is not part of the family.”
When Jayani first met with Anja, it was difficult to for her to open up. “She didn’t know what the programme was about and I think she was unsure about it at first. I just told her that she would be working with someone, and that it was up to her completely what she wanted to talk to Anja about. In the first session I think she made quite clear what she felt comfortable speaking about, and Anja respected that.”
Anja spent time with her, working through exercises to explore her thoughts and feelings towards school, her family and herself. She also began visiting Jayani at home, arranging sessions with Riha and her two older daughters and taking Jayani out swimming during half term. The whole programme was jointly decided – Anja would propose activities or meetings but she left it to the family to make the final decisions.
Riha says, “For example, we talked about if I wanted my other family members involved, at what point in the intervention that would be, and what we would address in those meetings. We talked about what outcomes we were looking for from each session. So it was always discussed before and it was very clear what the expectations were. It made a huge difference to know what I was getting into.”
“Anja made us feel really comfortable, and made things really easy. When I was interpreting for other families having sessions with her at school, I worked with her for the benefit of that other family. But when we had our own sessions Anja made it easy to be open. She was very professional but also very personable, very clear in how she communicates with me about next steps in the programme, and also very warm and made me feel so comfortable. She was also very flexible and very adaptable to everything we were going through.”
“Anja was a huge support when that happened. She sat down with the whole family and together we put together some ground rules, based on what I wanted for my daughter but also based on what Jayani needed and wanted – she wanted to see him but wasn’t saying that because she didn’t want to upset me or hurt me. We decided it needed to happen, and set about figuring out how, when and where and set some conditions based on what they and I were comfortable with. He has taken Jayani out twice now, and that relationship is slowly building.”
Most importantly, the support Anja gave Riha gave her the strength and tools to address these issues when they came up again. “Without Anja’s support, I probably wouldn’t have broached the subject in the first place and we would be in the same place we were in October.”
For Jayani and the whole family, the change has been really noticeable. Her confidence has improved and she is becoming more and more open with Riha about concerns she has or things that are on her mind, in particular about her father. For her part, Riha’s emotional well-being has also improved greatly, helping to build her relationship with Jayani. “It’s made a difference for the whole family really, so the holistic approach of the programme has been great for all of us. And now Jayani is more open with me and our relationship is getting better and better. Knowing I had someone I could open up to, and developing tools to communicate better with my daughters about issues effecting all of us, was so important for me. Reflecting on things I had gone through and addressing them has helped close the lid on some issues and move on. It’s been fantastic!”
Note: Names have been changed to protect residents’ identity.