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Tandrima's story

Tandrima is one of the 70 adults we've supported as part of our Natives of the World programme. Throughout the pandemic we've been able to support her family with our online creative sessions and our culturally appropriate food parcels.

"I live in Manchester with my two daughters. We are from seeking asylum from India where we were fleeing persecution. It has been a very difficult process. We don’t have family or friends, and it has been quite a struggle trying to understand things and get to know people.

"At the best of times our situation is extremely stressful. We are in a kind of limbo where we don’t know what is going to happen even tomorrow. All your worries seem to come to you when you are sitting in one place. Especially during lockdown.

"It was fine for a couple of days, but then the novelty wore off. It was stressful. I have lived in sort of lockdown situations before when I was going through my abuse. Being locked up in a house, being stuck somewhere, not being able to do what I want. That trauma started coming back.

"Through lockdown Magdalen has been a huge help. Being able to do dancing, putting on activities for the children, she has been a constant support. A big part of having a semblance of normality has been through groups like Afrocats. It gave me the ability to laugh and to dance. Even though it was only for half a day it was so welcome, such a sense of relief both physically and mentally, it really helped.

"I have these scarves that I would wear around my waist and just to do silly things. I just wanted to be myself. Lock the door, turn on the tablet and just dance. Just forget about everything. And that feeling, that happy feeling would just see me through the day. This has had a big role to play in lightening my burden and my anxiety because the feeling of happiness stayed on for the day.

"Magdalen understands the community, the needs of the women and the needs of the children who stuck in the asylum process. She understands the feeling of being away from your family and what it is like to try and integrate into this county and society.

"She creates a space where you can make yourself much more acceptable to yourself. She helps us be more self-confident, so we can make our decisions and make our own friends.

"We are women who don’t get to talk to anyone all day and when you put us in a group, we can be very nervous. At the beginning all our videos will be turned off. It can be very unnerving but we meet as a group every day and slowly but surely you see our videos getting turned on one by one.

"This is something that I think is amazing - to see that change in the women because they start feeling confident. That is the impact. That is the affect Magdalen has on all of us. These are women who are scared to take our own names, talk to people and here we are being asked to take part in a group in a dance session.

"She gives us that confidence to really come out, get out there and bring ourselves to that place where we can really do stuff on our own.

"She has been an absolute blessing for us."


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