“I remember trying to help my daughter do her maths homework and thinking ‘I wish my husband was here, he could do this’. We used to share all of those kinds of things but when he had a brain haemorrhage, I was completely lost. I’m really grateful to IET Connect for being there to hold my hand.
I moved to London from Zimbabwe in 2003 to work as a nurse. In 2005, Rudo followed me from Zimbabwe, where we’d always been the affluent couple. He had a job as an electrical engineer and six months after he arrived, Rudo had the stroke. He was only 44 and was left severely disabled. He moved to a nursing home and I was working full time to pay the bills. Our two daughters were six and twelve. I used all my credit cards and made dinners to freeze for a week on my night off. It was a hard and crazy time for us.
Rudo had been a member of IET since 1988 and I heard about IET Connect through a colleague who was going to work at a nursing home that they owned then. When I called them, they were very empathetic. My local representative came round to talk to me and we went through all my income and outgoings so I could work out a budget.
For five years, they provided us with a monthly grant of around £200. It paid for parking when I went to see Rudo twice a week and my girls’ drumming and singing lessons, which meant they could be kids again. We also had a grant for our first family holiday together, in Greece in 2012, which I would never have been able to afford.
If Rudo hadn’t joined IET, I’m not sure what would have happened to us. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been able to work from all the stress – who knows what would have happened to my kids. IET Connect’s support goes a long way. I have two nursing jobs now and we are afloat again. I’m more confident, my little girl is going into the sixth form and I’m hoping my big girl will find her feet. I know that IET Connect is there if I need to talk. It’s like having a big sister.”
*The story is in their own words but the names have been changed.