Young person in headscarf in side profile by a scout hut Tamsin Clements

Idan's Story: A Journey of Healing

Idan (22) grew up in an unstable household. A particularly traumatic event resulted in her becoming homeless and led her to moving into a Centrepoint service. Now in her own place, Idan has started a journey of healing and stability.

Growing up in an unstable home 

For most of her life, Idan was stuck in an endless cycle of instability. She would be kicked out, able to return home and then kicked out again. 

Idan remembers, “Growing up, I had a really rocky relationship with my parents, I was stubborn and would clash with them about a lot with things”.

In retrospect, she realises that she wasn’t the problem. “Back then, I thought I was in the wrong, but I realised that actually I was just asking for my basic needs to be met.”

“I would often sleep on trains when I was kicked out,” she remembers. “I didn’t tell anyone. I was always known as the bubbly one so I didn’t feel comfortable talking to my friends and sharing what was happening. I got very good at hiding it.”

During Covid, Idan reached her breaking point. 

“I went through a really traumatic experience in 2020: I was kicked out for four days and when I came back I experienced one of the most difficult incidents of my life.”

Idan went to stay with her great Aunt in Sweden for a month, but when she returned, things had changed too much for her.

“Nothing was the same, I felt so out of place. Growing up, I often had suicidal thoughts and I felt like I was spiralling back into that situation.”

Idan was kicked out again and with nowhere to turn, she stayed with a friend. “My friend had her own issues and didn't really have stability so we hung around in places that were potentially dangerous with people that weren't helping our situation."

Arriving at Centrepoint

Eventually, Idan reached out to the council for support and they referred Idan into supported accommodation at Centrepoint.

When she first arrived at the service, it took her some time to settle in.

“I remember the first two weeks, I was working as a door-to-door carer so my shift patterns were all over the place,” she recalls.  “I found it difficult to get used to the new situation and I didn’t really interact with anyone apart from my key worker, Alisha.”

However, with time, Idan began finding her crowd and making memories. 

Gradually, I came out of my shell and made a couple friends. One was M, she was my flat mate and we both helped each other heal by talking through our challenges.”

She continues, “After a while, everyone at the service ended up being friends. During the summer of 2021 we were hanging out together all the time; we even went to the beach together! It was the best summer.”

Support from Keyworkers

Idan says she received incredible support from staff members at Centrepoint who really helped her to move forwards.

Previously, in Idan’s friendship groups, she was always the listener and the healer.  However, staff members Alisha and Ekwa helped her realise that her feelings were just as important.

 “Alisha took the role of older sister rather than a key worker which was the right approach for me and allowed me to relax and open up to her,” Idan reflects. “She made me feel safe enough to speak about things that I hadn’t vocalised in a very long time and made me understand that’s it is okay to ask for help.”

“Ekwa (the service manager) was like a mother figure to me at a time where I didn’t have that parental figure. I could just go to and talk to her anytime”

“In this moment of pure chaos they were the only two solid females that had authority without making me feel that they had authority.”

For Ekwa, hearing this means a great deal. She says, ‘You don’t realise the impact you have on anyone’s journey, so a huge thank you to Idan, it was a pleasure to work with her and we are so glad to hear she’s doing well.’

Aspirations for the future 

A year after moving on from the service, Idan is in her own flat and working hard towards her future. Currently she is working as a restaurant manager and is focusing primarily on her well-being. 

She explains, “For the next two years I just want to do things for myself.  Based on how I grew up in a Somali family, there were a lot of things I wasn’t allowed to do so now I want to really focus on myself a bit more.”

“In the future, I know I want to give back, so I would like to work in a field where I can support vulnerable people. I’ve always wanted to do something like that”

“I also want to travel and get more control over my eating: I have an eating disorder so I’m still figuring that out. But ultimately, I am working towards my happiness.”

Advice that has stuck with her

Before she left the Centrepoint service to begin a life on her own, she was given some parting advice from Ekwa that has stuck with her ever since.

 “Ekwa said, ‘just remember this is your story and your life, you’ve made it out of the tougher part, and now you need to to put yourself at the centre of every decision you make.’ Everything I do now, I always ask myself, will this make me happy? Will it benefit me? Will it help me in the long run?” 

Advice for other young people

We asked Idan if she had any advice for other young people going through similar experiences.

“As a young Somali girl, I come from a minority. In my culture everything is hush hush. I was told to be quiet and that trauma is not real. I feel like it’s really important to understand how your lived experiences have an impact on you, how it affects the way you act, think and the way you speak. You can heal from it and take charge. My journey began with journaling, it helped me understand that it was not my fault, there was very little I could’ve done to change the outcome. It’s allowed me to accept myself again. Poetry has also really helped me to express my feelings." 


This is Nadi's Poem that she wrote when she turned 23.


Happy birthday to me! 

I’m finally 23, Though not much has changed and I’m yet to be free. I’m finally 23! 

Free from what you might ask? 

I’m yet to be free from the shackles of my tangled mind

Yet to be free from the cuffs of society’s fascination with perfection

Yet to be free from the claims of my so called religious oppression

Yet to be free from the twisted ideology of my broken generation. 

I didn’t get a birthday cake this year but hey I’m 23 so what does that matter anyway?

Yes I’m 23 but I’m also the 19 year old girl that left home broken and bruised

 I’m also the 20 year old girl that had to pick up the pieces of her broken world

 I’m also the 21 year old girl who had to learn what loving herself meant. 

The years keep stacking up and new problems keep coming up, but hey I’m 23 so yesterday problems definitely aren’t todays objective. 

I’ve learnt many things, made plenty memories, met many people and loved on many different things.

I’m 23 now but what does that even mean, I was an adult from before I even became a teen. 

I’m a survivor of a war I was not drafted for but thrown into. 

I didn’t choose this life but I chose this breakthrough. 

I chose to rewrite what was written in blood and paved my path with flowers and pearls so I no longer walked in mud. 

Today is my 23rd birthday and the feeling contentment today is its first day.