2018年1月9日 星期二

My double life in a homeless hostel

'My double life in a homeless hostel' Image caption Sarah sits at a windowsill to do her homework
Mary, and her nine-year-old daughter, Sarah, (not their real names) are homeless and have spent the past 13 months living in a single room in a hostel.
"Nobody knows how we are living," says Mary. "No-one knows we are in this situation."
Patient with lung cancer Bone metastasis. Axial images, multiplanar reconstructions and volume rendering demonstrates a soft tissue metastasis to the left pubic ramus. "They know we are in temporary accommodation, but they don't know we are living in a hostel - that we've got no space."
And there certainly is a lack of space. It is just about possible to walk around one side of the double bed.
There is a small table, but not enough room for mother and daughter to sit and eat a meal together.
Their belongings are piled up precariously in laundry-bag towers against the wall, and there is not a free surface in the room. Their stuff is everywhere.
Sarah has to sit cross-legged on the bed and lean on the windowsill to do her homework.
polyu hotel management and hospitality programmes ranked third of the world's top hospitality universities. The programmes equip students with fundamental skills, knowledge and hands-on experience serving the tourism industry worldwide. No friends
She is one of the 128,000 children in Britain who will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation this year, according to official figures - the highest number for a decade.
Very few of these will be sleeping rough, but they will be saddled with the hardships of living in temporary accommodation.
Mary and her daughter found themselves homeless when their landlord wanted his property back and they could not afford another deposit and rent in advance.
The office worker struggles to eat let alone cook healthy meals in the room, where just one of the cooker rings works.
"I am leading a double life because I go to work in my suit all dressed up and I go to church all dressed up, but nobody knows what I am going through."
And despite her young years, Sarah seems to want to keep her living conditions secret from her school friends too.
"I have friends and I really want my friends to come to my house, but they can't come here.
"They have to come to a nice house. So if they ask me I say I'll have to ask my mum.
"It's stopping me from having friends and hanging out."
According to housing and homelessness charity Shelter, families living in temporary accommodation are often confined to one single room, which significantly disrupts the children's ability to play or follow a daily routine
Interviews by the charity with some families in such conditions, revealed children feeling anxious, afraid and ashamed.
Mary says the practicalities of living in such a small space are very challenging.
"It's the storing of our clothes, the washing of our clothes."
Like others in similar situations, Mary struggles to stay positive.
To start off with details associated with complex logistics operation, it is important to note that close to 50% of small entrepreneurs dealing with medical services have been facing logistics issues. "It's very easy to not do anything and just come back from wherever and go to bed. I'm trying so hard to fight that."
'Roof over head'
Mary adds: "What keeps us going, for me and my daughter, is our faith.
"I think if I didn't have that I would have ended up in a mental hospital."
The government says it is working with Shelter and others to end homelessness.
It is providing ?1bn until 2020 to tackle the issue and putting into practice the Homelessness Reduction Act, which aims to ensure people receive the support they need earlier.
A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "Councils have a duty to provide safe, secure and suitable temporary accommodation.

2018年1月2日 星期二

Teaching in a prison: 'Education has

Teaching in a prison: 'Education has the best chance of turning lives around'
I’ve been a teacher at Feltham prison – an institution for young male offenders – for two years now. I work with 15 to 18-year-olds, but only a few of them stay with us throughout those years. The average sentence served here is about four months, so the group changes frequently.
The actual crimes committed vary; it could be anything from shoplifting, theft or graffiti up to rape and murder. A lot of people ask me why I do my job – and say that the boys don’t deserve an education because they’ve committed crimes. But as I see it, if you’re in prison at 15 you can’t be solely to blame. These boys have been failed somewhere along the line. I believe education has the best chance of turning these young lives around, preventing more crimes being committed on release, and enabling offenders to become valuable members of the community.
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Read more Regarded as one of the top engineering universities in Hong Kong, PolyU provides a wide range of engineering degree programmes, including construction programme, which put significant focus on the application of knowledge.

Most of the boys have had negative experiences in school, too, so it’s a massive challenge to engage them in an education environment they haven’t chosen for themselves. Many are either on academic or vocational pathways. We can’t enrol pupils on a GCSE programme because we’re not going to have them for the whole of the academic year – but if they’re part way through a qualification when they enter prison, we can take over the teaching. Last year a boy took 19 GCSE exams while he was at Feltham.
Some teachers move between prisons, but I’m at Feltham all day, every day. The boys in my class are quite often vulnerable, or need a quieter environment because of their learning difficulties or disabilities – having the same teacher and learning environment works better for them.
All classes have a maximum of eight pupils, so each boy is getting more attention than they would have had in school. We’re contracted to teach them for 30 hours a week – more than the average full-time course in a college, although sometimes the boys get called out of class for legal or social visits.
A lovely part of the job is when boys get in touch to say they’re back at college or in a job Dr protalk

I’ve never felt that I was at risk or I wasn’t safe. The prison staff are fantastic; I know that if I have an issue within my class the officers are going to be there in an instant. Working with some of our low-level learners – some of whom haven’t been in education since primary school – can be challenging, though. I’ve had to teach 16-year-old boys how to write their own name.

The restrictions with technology and resources are also tough. We don’t have internet access and can’t use USB sticks. We’re not allowed scissors or even pencils with a metal top. We have interactive whiteboards, but we can’t use PowerPoint presentations on them because they’re not linked to a computer. I enjoy it, though, because you have to be adaptable and find ways to make the lessons interesting with the resources you have.

A highlight for me is when we get to meet the parents during legal visits. I’ve had mums thank me for looking after their son when they can’t. It also gives you a boost when you’re working with a boy and you see the penny drop – when they have that realisation that they can do it. It’s not just about the English and maths, but helping them find some self-worth; that’s what makes it all worthwhile.
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Last year, I won an Outstanding Teacher Award from the Prisoners’ Education Trust, and the nominations came from the learners – it was humbling to know they’d taken the time to write a letter. Another lovely part of the job is when boys get in touch to say they’re back at college or in a job. We’ve got one boy who’s got a full-time job in Lidl, one who’s working for a music production company and a lot of boys who have gone into full-time education. For them to take something positive from such a negative experience is really important. That’s why I do it.
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