He knows that his mam sometimes becomes very sad.
That’s why Daniel hasn’t told her how scared he is about what’s happening. He doesn’t want to upset her more. Some nights, he can’t sleep because he can hear his mam crying softly in the next bed. Other nights, he can’t sleep because of the loud noises and voices coming from the other rooms. Sometimes it’s the bad smell from the damp clothes and the papers dinner was wrapped in, that keep him from getting the rest that he needs.
Other nights, he can’t sleep because of the loud noises and voices coming from the other rooms.
Daniel’s already sent his letter to Santa and he’s being as good as gold. He doesn’t care about games or toys this year. All he’s asked for from Santa is his old home back. He knows if Santa brings him what he wants, they’ll be able to settle. His mam and dad can tuck him into his own bed for a good night’s sleep, and he won’t have to take two buses to school. Maybe his mam would even be able to smile and laugh at his jokes again.
All he’s asked for from Santa is his old home back.
But for now, his biggest fear is that they’ll have to move again. And if Daniel doesn’t know where he’ll be on Christmas Eve, how is Santa expected to find him?
Daniel won’t be the only child facing these worries this Christmas. The number of homeless children in Ireland is at its highest since records began. 3,194 children are surviving day to day in emergency accommodation.
This is a crisis of unprecedented scale for children in Ireland. And we know, only too well, that being homeless has profound effects on children; on their mental and physical health, their emotional development and education and on their relationships with friends and family.
Daniel is going to a Barnardos After-School Group where he has the space to play, to do his homework and to run around and have fun with his friends. We’ve given him some stability and consistency in a world that, to him, seemed so uncertain and out of control. He still has more worries and burdens than a child his age should have, but we are working with him to help him understand that it’s the adult’s job to look after all of that. He just needs to get on with being a six year old boy.