Case study – Mary

Mary, aged 74, is a Survivor who fled Ireland in her late teens. Mary was placed in an industrial school at a very young age and spent her childhood there. Upon leaving the institution, Mary faced extreme discrimination, finding it impossible to secure a stable job and leave her past behind her. Mary left Ireland in the 1950s to start the next chapter of her life in the UK.

Settling in London, Mary married and had her own family. Sadly it wasn’t a happy marriage, due to violence she experienced from her husband. In later life, IWSSN helped Mary to trace her sister who was born in a mother-and-baby home and who Mary had never met. Overjoyed about their reunion, Mary enjoyed spending time getting to know her long-lost sister and finally felt a sense of belonging.

Several years later, Mary found herself alone, longing for her homeland and the company of her sister. Unsure if she could fulfil her dream to move back to Ireland, Mary returned to IWSSN for support. Although moving country seemed like a mammoth task, our case workers – with ample experience of helping move back Survivors – broke the steps to repatriation into manageable stages. After an initial meeting and the creation of a list of tasks to wind up her life in England, Mary felt more at ease and able to make the move.

Giving IWSSN the authority to act on her behalf, case workers supported Mary every step of the way. IWSSN gave notice at Mary’s London home, settled outstanding bills, closed bank accounts and transferred her pensions and benefits to Ireland. IWSSN connected Mary to the Safe Home Project, who assisted her with settling in Ireland. This support included ensuring Mary accessed benefits and pensions she was entitled to, registering with a doctor and helping with applying for corporation (council) housing. IWSSN helped Mary secure her new home that was very close to her family.

When it came to the move itself, IWSSN case workers helped in every way they could: from helping her pack up her belongings, organise the removal company to move her possessions and booking her travel. For her new home, IWSSN arranged with the housing corporation to make improvements before she moved over.

Within a year, Mary had made the move and was finally reunited with her family. Now living in Ireland, Mary is living a life she never thought she could – she is very happy and has rekindled relationships with her family.