From a Dark Place to Paradise

Above at right: Zakia Mohamedi

In May 2021, members of ATD from 11 European countries connected via Zoom for a conversation in the spirit of friendship and solidarity despite the barriers to meeting in person during the pandemic. Zakia Mohamedi and Bea Roberts were among the participants from the UK. Some excerpts from their remarks are below.

Zakia: ‘Poverty is a disease. People like me have so many ideas and potential, but no opportunity. Before joining ATD, I was in a very dark place because of my daughter’s special needs. Things were very tough for her and we were isolated. But now that we are connected to ATD, things have fallen into place. We have more interactions with others. The support is amazing. People are so caring and considerate.

Frimhurst is like a paradise. Your mind is free of problems and worries and you forget everything else. The lockdowns have been tough on my family because of my daughter’s difficulties and this new environment is very strange to us.  But with Covid, we see that we have to embrace every possibility because we never know what might happen next.’

‘We’ve all been there’

Bea: ‘Lockdown has been horrible, but I’m coming out of it with some new skills, new friends, and resilience we didn’t know we had. Zoom has dragged me kicking and screaming away from paper and pencil, and into the 21st century.

‘During lockdown, I’ve missed going to Frimhurst so much that it’s like someone has taken a piece of my heart away. When poverty grinds you down a bit and gets into your head and heart, you need other people to say, “We’ve all been there. Let’s have coffee together”. That’s what we can do together at ATD. I really miss cooking together and eating together. When we come together, it lifts our spirits and we all feel better.’