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Martina’s story

When did you first start living in the halfway house?
Martina: In November, December, [about 7 months ago]. I’m not completely sure.

What was your situation previous to your arrival at the halfway house?
I lived with my mother. But this didn’t work, because my mother had two boyfriends. Then she left one and started living with the other. And I was living with them, but it didn’t work at all. Therefore, I moved in with my boyfriend. It didn’t work there either, so I had to find another way.

Why did you decide to come here?
Because I had no place to stay.

How did you find about this halfway house?
From social workers.

What changes occurred after your arrival at the halfway house?
Of course, I had a new a place to stay and I went to school. My parents started to care of me. My mother paid the rent, etc. And then I started thinking whether I should continue to attend school or not. I didn’t stay at school and started working. Currently I work and just now a friend offered to have me live with her.

Have you started to do something differently since your arrival? What was new for you here?
I’ve started to work and earn money. I’ve become independent.

How has your life changed since your arrival at DOM?
I’ve stopped to speak with my family. My mother and I sometimes call each other, but my father and I don’t speak at all, because I had big problems with him. Sometimes my grandmother calls me and that’s our only communication. My life has changed thus- that I am here, stand on my own feet and manage to do everything myself. I’m happy. Nobody annoys me. When I get here and stand in front of the doors of DOM, I totally switch off and know that here I can be who I am and I don’t have to pretend and I don’t have to ask anyone for anything, because I have my own money, my own life and follow my own path. How shall I put it? Independence is simply better than asking someone for something, especially once one is able to earn the money for it oneself.

Has your life at DOM influenced anything else? For example, your health or your friendships?
I’m very careful about what I say and to whom. Naturally my family was the first to know. Telling my friends that I live here was a bit more difficult, because some people say, ‘For heaven’s sake! Can’t your parents take care of you? Poor thing, living in a homeless shelter.’ But this is not a homeless shelter. It’s terribly difficult to explain this to them. And that’s why I pay attention to what I say to whom. Already a couple of people know that I live here. When I tell them how things work here, they think it’s alright. But some people rate it very negatively.

Which change was the biggest, most significant or most important after your arrival at DOM?
After my arrival here living alone was a big change. I didn’t have anyone here and had to think about how to proceed. I had to pull myself together and tell myself I will go to work, earn money and have my own things. The biggest question was, ‘School or work? Will I stay at school and continue to ask other people for money, or am I going to stand on my own feet?’

How did DOM contribute to this change?
My therapist here has helped me a lot. On one hand, she had to urge me on. On the other hand, she had to leave me alone so I could realise it myself. Then I went to her and told her that I would have to leave school.

Thank you for this interview.

We measure the impact of our activities.
Project: Stories from DOM.

For many years DOM has dedicated itself to disadvantaged teenagers and young adults, who are often invisible to the general public. These youth are “alone among people”. They have had a troubled childhood and have little or no support from their family. Their very serious difficulties can be incomprehensible to others. In our demanding society they manage neither to engage nor to assert themselves.
On the basis of long experience, up-to-date and professional resources and sophisticated methods, the experts at DOM “save the lives” of young people whose prospects seem hopeless when they are about to start adult life.

The project Stories from DOM was inspired by the idea that every client has a story of their journey which starts with an unfavourable situation and then progresses to personal development and positive change. This change and its recognition are the key topics of this project.

In order to measure our activities we use the MSC (Most Significant Change) method. You can learn more about MSC here:
The ‘Most Significant Change’ (MSC) Technique
A Guide to Its Use by Rick Davies and Jess Dart