Monday, 17 November 2014

My Hunger Games Story 1

A #MyHungerGames story from a chapter member

I am very lucky to have had a childhood where I had a loving family and a roof over my head. I wasn’t unhappy and I have very fond memories of being a child. I am grateful to my parents and to the tax payers money that helped support my family during the difficult periods. 

My earliest memories were living in a hostel in the early 90s. Social hosing was in limited supply and we had nowhere else to go. My parents had separated when I was a baby and my mother moved me and my brother back to near my grandparents. She met my stepfather and had my baby brother. We were placed in ‘temporary accommodation’ which meant living in a house with many other families, sharing a bathroom and a kitchen. One room to a family, so 2 adults and 3 children living in one room. We lived here for many months before moving into a pretty shoddy privately rented house. Looking at Shelter UK’s Website, there are 90,000 children that will be in that position this Christmas. For children older than I was, and the parents, I can imagine this is rather difficult, especially for long periods of time. 

After this point we were a low income family and money was very tight. We always had something to eat, but I do remember crying because I didn’t want to eat some less than appetising canned meat because I believed I was being fed cat food. I had no choice that night as we had nothing else in the house to eat. I have another memory of being asked to write about my summer holiday at school and while everyone was talking about all of the amazing trips they went on, I told my teachers we didn’t go anywhere so I was told to ‘make something up’. I realised Santa was not real when friends got megadrives and game boys and I got colouring books. Now these are I guess trivial things in the scheme of things, but they are things that made my childhood a bit different to my friends'.

Later things improved, my parents got OK paying jobs. Things were still tight in my teens, but not on the same scale as my early childhood. Doors were opened which allowed me to get a university degree with the aid of government grants, (Though I still borrowed around £17,000). This is something I never even considered doing, as I felt university was for more affluent families.

I have found as an adult there is a lot of prejudice against someone from my background, regardless of whether I have a well paid job where I pay taxes into the system that helped me. I have been told by a healthcare professional in general conversation, that poor kids shouldn’t get university grants as it is a waste of money. I was told by an acquaintance that my parents should have been sterilised as we were a burden on society. These things are very hurtful and I feel for families that are in this position right now. How can a society help people out of difficult times if they are persecuted for losing their job, becoming ill or many other difficult circumstances that are often beyond a person's control?


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