Monika rebuilds her life - one stitch at a time
Life hasn’t been easy for 62 year old Monika Thomas. Born in Pakistan, she came to London at the age of 20 with her husband and small baby, didn’t speak English, and struggled to make friends.
Monika ended up confined to their small one room flat. She also suffered a major trauma 25 years ago, when one of her three children, aged nine, was killed in a car accident when playing outside her house,which led to Monika having a heart attack, severe anxiety, panic attacks and stress. With help from Remploy, the disability employment specialists, Monika sought to rebuild her life and with their support she managed to secure a job as a seamstress at London-based ‘Fashion Enter’.
She said: “I can’t work in a stressful environment with my condition, so it was hard for me to find a suitable job. Remploy helped me a lot with my confidence and they gave me the encouragement and support I needed to get this job which I really enjoy! It makes me feel emotionally happy and I now have a great support network of colleagues and friends who know how to help me if I am feeling low. ”
Fashion Enter is a not for profit, social enterprise, which aims to be a centre of excellence for fashion production while providing learning and development opportunities in fashion and textiles. They also supply major clothing retailers across the UK. Monika said: “I help to make all sorts of garments from dresses and shirts to scarves and even babies booties. The styles are often quite different depending on the company order and I work on a variety of clothing which is interesting, it is a good challenge for me. I’m now a happier person and I have a seven year old granddaughter who is very intelligent and loves to sing, I really enjoy spending time with her and my family.”
Jenny Holloway, Director of Fashion Enter said: “Monika is quiet and unpretentious, with a really good heart. Initially she was lacking in confidence but it has been an absolute privilege to see how she has grown and flourished. Now she is one of the best machinists in the fashion studio. It is important for us to give people an opportunity to succeed and Monika is doing really well with the company.”