Kamilla was in Cyprus, with her husband, who is Nigerian. They decided to come to London for a better life for both of them and their first child – who was on the way.
So they decided that she would go ahead of her husband and stay with his family, until he had saved enough to join her. She arrived full of hope and was shocked to find that her husbands family simply turned her away. She knew no-one and had nowhere to go and her life on the streets began.
Two kind people she had met at a day centre, Jacek and Slawek knew at once that they had to ask Rev. Alex to help her. Jacek and Slawek were residents at Highway House and they asked Rev. Alex if he could help. Rev. Alex had agreed to take her on, believing fully that it would only be for a few days. He was certain that she would be eligible for emergency accommodation. At that time at Highway House she was the only pregnant woman amongst only a handful of other women at the shelter. Rev. Alex felt concerned about both her welfare and her safety and wondered if the men would treat her with the gentleness and respect she needed.
She was welcomed into Highway House, but Alex knew he would have to act fast to get her a more suitable home. So, a few days later they both set out with the certain goal of securing her a suitable place to live. As they walked out of the third housing office, having been rejected, they walked in silence. Rev. Alex was shocked to learn that yet again there was nothing that anyone could do. Quite simply she was not eligible until she had the child.
The residents of Highway House soon adjusted to the fact that there was a pregnant woman in the house. Rev. Alex watched with both concern and intrigue as to how the men interacted with Kamilla. He was pleasantly surprised to see the deep respect and care they gave her. She began to attend Church and people brought her clothes and other items that she needed.
As the birth neared, some friends offered her a room and she happily moved out of the shelter. It seemed all was looking up for her. Sadly, not long after the birth, she and her friends were evicted by the landlord and she had to return to the shelter once more.
The job was back on to find her accommodation, and Rev. Alex believed that she would now be eligible for a home. However the authorities were still unable to help and Kamilla couldn’t stay in a homeless shelter with a child to look after. Rather than waiting on her husband, she decided her best option would be to return to Poland and to her family. . Rev. Alex contacted Thamesreach, an organisation that assists in repatriation. Over the phone, they kindly agreed to purchase a ticket for her return, but the agreement was dependent on a visit with Kamilla at Highway House for an assessment.
On the day of the visit, Rev. Alex sat with Kamilla and her baby and answered a string of questions. All seemed to be going well as Alex explained how Kamilla had no family to go to, no help available and that Highway House had been her last resort.
Much to their shock, the woman announced that what Rev. Alex had done was illegal. She listed a string of breaches in regulations regulations and that because of this she simply couldn’t help.
Rev. Alex was almost indignant. He went on to list all of the organisations that he had approached to get Kamilla the help that she needed and their response. He even pulled a file out of letters which rejection after rejection of help for Kamilla.
The woman quickly backed down and said her goodbyes leaving behind the paperwork to be completed in order to get Kamilla back home. Rev. Alex wasted no time in completing it and posting it back. Within a few days Kamilla was saying farewell to Rev. Alex and her friends at Highway House. She had received the help she needed at long last, she had a ticket and was on her way back to Poland with her baby.
Later that year, Kamilla and her husband called Rev. Alex from Poland to wish him and his family a happy Christmas – they had been reunited. Two years later, Kamilla made a an unannounced visit during a Sunday service. The baby she carried during her stay at Highway House was now three years old.
Kamilla, her husband and their children now live in London, in their own home.
Take a look at Life inside Highway House – Image Gallery