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Tales from the Source: Ayesha’s Story


Youth homelessness is complex. Its challenges broad, its impact deep. It is indiscriminate and can affect anyone in its range of fire. While most youth never have to experience it, some feel it in much more profound, cruel, and indelible ways.


A good example of this is the case of Ayesha, a young single mother living in Mississauga. Ayesha is a refugee newcomer with a two-year old child, she lives in poverty and is homeless. Her prospects for success are slim unless she and her child receive vital supports and services to help weather the storm. To make matters worse, Ayesha has no family or any meaningful friends who can lend a helping hand.


Before moving to Mississauga, she lived in Scarborough, where she was constantly preoccupied with survival living. The culture and language barrier made finding and keeping work extremely difficult. In addition, any work she could get was often cut short because of the demands placed on her by motherhood. Further to the economic hardships facing Ayesha, she also had to deal with the stigma of being a non-white single mother.


This brought a great deal of emotional and psychological stress to Ayesha. When telling about her experience, she states: “When I was in Scarborough, there were many people that I used to know. But when people came to know that I'm a single mother, with a baby and with no family, relatives and everything here, the way people look, and the way people think about me and my mentality. I don't like that." She spoke.


Dismayed yet determined Ayesha decided to reach out to the R.E.S.T. Centres Bridge of Hope Program. As a result, Ayesha was able to find a place for her and her child to live and successfully get back on her feet again.


At R.E.S.T. Centre we uphold the dignity and importance of having a place to call home. That is why getting a youth housed first is the first thing we address. Once housed, we then begin to tackle any other lingering issues such as employment, education, and health. The final result, as in Ayesha’s case, is a life made whole and a progressively bright looking future.

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