Today we are proudly celebrating the achievements of BCHA's Refuge Support Worker Faith Shimongola who came to the Women’s Refuge as an agency worker in February 2020 while transitioning from her volunteering role in the NHS to what she thought would be a nursing career.
"My working background has been in the care sector and customer care. Working in the Refuge has allowed me to draw on both these experiences and my own lived experience of homelessness and being unseen. In May 2020 I officially joined BCHA.
"I have worked with the team to create a “Gold Standard Room” which makes the rooms we offer survivors homely and welcoming. Work still goes on in replicating this within the whole refuge paying attention to the small details.
"I have also undertaken training to facilitate The Freedom Programme, which I am currently delivering virtually to help women identify abusive tactics that dominators use.
"This is the tip of the iceberg for me and I am energised to not only work with survivors in the Refuge but am very much interested in preventative work where both young women and men can call out abuse. I carry my passion for human rights through all my working roles, having been a vocal advocate against the Mugabe regime.
"I have been greatly inspired by Cicely Tyson, a woman who spoke her truth from her early career to when she left this earth. I would also mention my mother - who was once intimidating in her knowledge, strength and wisdom and who now cannot operate a mobile phone. Or indeed I can look on the world stage and see all the marvellous women who are shattering the glass ceilings in their chosen fields.
"I however will draw your attention to the marvel of a woman that stands before you that is me. My lived experience of content childhood years followed by a turbulent teenage years and the intervening years of migrant working has perfected in me resilience, adaptability, how to cope with setbacks and make comebacks to overcome challenges. During my life path, amazing people have given me love, hope, life, strength and the gift of seeing me.
"I am really inspired by the tenacity of Cenan Campbell whom I approached at 37 weeks pregnant at Red Cross when all doors to society where firmly shut against me. She saw me, held my story, and would not let me lose hope. She was unwavering in her support and resolve that though my situation was unique all was not lost and impossible. She breathed life into a corpse by constantly rising to meet new challenges and decimating them. I am because she is.
"The advice I would have given my younger self? Even if you don’t see the path walk baby girl. The ones that have walked this path before you will light your way. If you can think it, you can exceed it."