Redbridge Together: Refugee volunteers to end homeless crisis and stop 'people dying in the parks'
PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 August 2018
Marie's unwavering drive to help rebuild the lives of rough sleepers in Redbridge comes from her experiences fleeing violence in her homeland.
In 1998, 53-year-old Marie Lungiambudi came to the UK from Angola - a nation which endured a brutal civil war more than 26 years - as a refugee with her four children.
“It was very hard,” she said, reflecting on that time.
“I was running everywhere with my children - going from this hostel to that hostel.”
Settling eventually in East Ham, she began volunteering for the Ilford Salvation Army’s seasonal night shelter, in Clements Road, seven years ago - cooking nearly 100 dinners and countless Saturday brunches.
“My desire to help comes as I myself came here as a refugee,” she said.
“You have some one open the door for you and help you, you want to help open the door for others.
She added: “Sometimes at night I stay awake thinking ‘I may be sleeping in my bed but there are people sleeping in the streets.”
“Some of them are dying out in the parks.”
Now Marie is working towards a longer-term solution to Redbridge rough sleeping crisis as a volunteering with crowdfunding campaign Redbridge Together, which aims to raise £500,000 for two projects at the heart of helping the homeless in the borough.
Two thirds of all money raised will go towards the creation of pioneering pop-up hostel Project Malachi and one third to The Welcome Project day centre for the homeless.
“You can give them bread and food but they still end up sleeping on the street,” she said.
“But by giving money we can help finish the hostel and them go back to normal life.”
Over the coming weeks Marie will be visiting business in the borough to tell them how they can get involved.
Businesses can support by donating money, pledging to raise funds, displaying Redbridge Together promotional material in their stores and offering work placements.
Redbridge Together is an association between Ilford Salvation Army (SA), The Welcome Centre, Ilford BID, the Ilford Recorder and Redbridge Council.
Donate £3 by texting LIFE to 70145 or at Crowdfunder.co.uk/RedbridgeTogether
To get involved email: firstname.lastname@example.org