Kiran has found friends to be a comfort when family are not around - and she explains the benefits of setting up a Gingerbread group
Kiran’s arranged marriage broke down while she was pregnant with her daughter and ended in divorce. Then her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, so Kiran left her full-time job to care for her and started working from home.
After her mother died in 2007, Kiran says her family fell apart. Her father remarried, her two brothers moved to India, and Kiran decided to move to London. “The first six months were really tough, but we have slowly settled down.”
Kiran attended a parenting course through her local council. “You can never learn enough,” she says.
“When I moved to London I think I realised for the first time that I was a parent and there was no-one to help me out. If you don’t have family around, you need a support group,” she explains.
With this in mind, Kiran set up a Gingerbread group in July 2010. Already it has 15 members and numbers are growing. “I am trying to do things for weekends for parents and children,” she says. “I have set up workshops, to build confidence for mums and kids. A break-up can affect both adults and children.”
It’s early days for the group, but she hopes to have more activities up and running soon.
She explains her daughter was very quiet when they came to London and found it difficult to mix. At the time she spoke only Norwegian and Punjabi, but within a few months had grasped English and now has forgotten her original languages.
“We don’t talk about single parents in our community. My cousins don’t come and see me because I’m divorced and I’m not invited to close family weddings.”
Because her mother died of ovarian cancer, Kiran has also become a regional co-ordinator for cancer charities the Eve Appeal
“This is something else we don’t talk about. When Mum was ill, her friends would come to the house but not eat or drink because she had cancer.Through the Eve Appeal we are aiming to raise awareness of the disease and help and support other single parents who don’t know where to go and how to get help.”
It has not been an easy journey, but Kiran is an immensely positive person. So positive that she has been looking at the possibility of fostering or adopting another child. So far she has been told she’s too young to adopt but fostering is definitely on the cards.
Bright and healthy
Her daughter Khushi is very mature for her six years. She was very close to her grandmother and it took her a while to accept her death. Now she’s bright and healthy and doing really well at school.
Financially life is tough, says Kiran, but she plans her budget every week and the two of them manage.
Her social life is with other single mums. “I have three or four girlfriends and we go to each other’s houses for dinner. Sometimes they stay over. We go swimming, watch old movies. The kids can play and the mums can talk,” she says.
“Being a single parent can be exhausting and frustrating but it’s good for both of us to have friends around. If anything happens, or bothers my daughter, then she knows she has other people who can help her.”
Kiran says she lives her life according to her mother’s ideals. “She made the little things matter and she was a big believer in putting everything you have into whatever you’re involved in,” says Kiran. And that’s certainly what she does.
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