After living a dangerous life on the streets for twenty years, Zowie is finally safe and secure in her own home. She was supported by Project Kali which is helping her fulfill her ambitions.

“I’m going to climb a mountain. To leave that world behind you need support and you need a goal, something to drive you forward. Climbing a mountain - that was my goal.”

Zowie has already climbed a mountain to reach where she is today. Her journey has not involved scrabbling up rocky paths, but she’s shown an incredible feat of strength to escape the dangerous world she was sucked into from an early age.  

“Violence was all I knew from childhood. There was so much of it in my home growing up and I was left to raise my sisters on my own.  

“When I was 18, I had my daughter, but by my early twenties I was unable to look after her. I’d never had any support and just couldn’t cope”.

With no system to help her, Zowie fell into homelessness. The streets are a dangerous place, and she did what she could to stay safe.

“I spent twenty years on the streets and lived my life in constant fear. You can’t bed down outside because then you’re really vulnerable so I would stay on the move. I’d keep myself clean by washing in McDonald’s toilets, trying to keep some dignity intact.  

“In my desperation to have shelter, I put myself in some really risky situations, staying with dodgy people who hurt me. I had to learn to be tough. Even today I am really aware of my surroundings and hyper alert to any potential dangers.“ 

After a short stay in prison, Zowie was referred to SHP’s Project Kali service, which offers a home and intensive support to women who have experienced multiple challenges including prison time. She formed a close bond with her Support Worker Nina.

“My life has completely changed since I joined Project Kali and Nina has been a huge part of that. She’s been there to support me at every moment. Having a safe and secure home is something people take for granted but it’s something I’d never had. Knowing I don’t have to constantly think about my next move and where to seek shelter has helped me start my recovery process.

“My life is stable now. I am getting therapy for everything that I’ve been through. My daughter lives with me too, which feels wonderful. I’m even looking to start kickboxing classes to help me feel stronger and gain confidence. 

“And my original goal is still in the back of my mind. I have so many things to look forward to now. I will get to the top of that mountain.”

Read this empowering letter from Zowie aimed at women facing challenges in life. She hopes that sharing her story will help others to fight their battles and look forward to a better future.