“Advocacy is more than a career, it’s my calling” – Fatime shares her story
Advocacy is nothing without advocates.
This Advocacy Awareness Week, Fatime Pecaku shares her story – the challenges she faced, why she became an independent advocate, and the difference she’s made to people’s lives.
The married mum-of-one lives in the London Borough of Redbridge and has been working as an advocate across the capital since joining VoiceAbility in July 2021.
Fatime – who studied health and social care – has mainly focused on children’s and Care Act advocacy in this time, but has been supporting people in the local community for years.
My name is Fatime, and I moved to the UK 19 years ago.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve held a deep belief in the fundamental right to speak.
The society in which I was brought up was undeniably patriarchal, and this limitation on my rights was an undeniable reality.
Sadly, even in the Western society I now find myself in, not much has changed.
While it may not be as overtly patriarchal, freedom is still a limited commodity.
Whether it’s due to systemic failures, the relentless busyness of life, or the shortage of professionals, it’s the most vulnerable individuals who bear the effect of these limitations.
I remember all too well the battles I had to fight as a young girl to secure my rights and the freedom to pursue the education I desired.
Also, when I came to the UK, I recall a specific moment when I was asked to leave a GP’s waiting room by the receptionist because I couldn’t adequately express my struggles and pain due to my limited English.
It was a moment that stung, but it was also a moment that left a profound impact on me.
The power of advocacy
I’ll never forget the incredible power of having someone advocate for me.
A compassionate lady from a church in the area I lived, who taught English classes, went out of her way to bridge the language barrier and advocate for my rights.
Her act of kindness and support was a decisive moment in my life, teaching me the importance of being a voice for the voiceless.
A guiding verse from the Bible, Proverbs 31, has always inspired me: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”
I’ve witnessed first-hand the dire consequences when people’s voices are not sought, ignored, or misunderstood.
The core of numerous societal tragedies often lies in the neglect of individuals’ voices and the refusal to acknowledge the significance of their words.
It’s for these reasons that I made a conscious decision to serve the community around me, advocating for those who are neglected and unheard.
I firmly believe that people need the support required to express their views, and I’m dedicated to providing that support.
Working for VoiceAbility
Working for VoiceAbility has provided me with the platform, tools, and legal knowledge I need to stand up for those in need. It’s comforting to support others when you feel supported and equipped.
I find immense joy in being someone’s light in their darkest moments, especially when I am the only person they may see or speak with in an entire week or month.
It’s incredibly rewarding to fight for the rights of others and see justice served.
One particular memory that comes to mind is from my time in children’s advocacy.
I received a distressing call from a young person, just 19 years old, who had been made homeless by local authorities.
He was facing the prospect of spending the night in the park after being asked to leave his accommodation.
I immediately sprang into action, calling and emailing local authorities, persisting for 48 hours until he was moved to a hostel.
Later, we successfully got him into a studio flat.
The call I received from the client, excited to share the news of his new accommodation, was testament to the impact of our work.
Another heartwarming memory is when, months after I had stopped doing children’s advocacy, a parent called to express her gratitude for the support her child had received.
She shared the incredible news that her son was now living in accommodation near their home.
It was a touching reminder of why I chose to be an advocate in the first place.
My journey as an advocate is more than just a career; it’s a calling.
My dedication to giving a voice to the voiceless, ensuring justice for the vulnerable, remains unwavering.
My experiences are a testament to the change that a single voice can bring, and I will continue to champion the cause of those who need it most.