Asma lost her husband in the Christchurch mosque attacks. The chemical engineer was one of 51 people who died as a result of the Christchurch mosque attacks on March 15, leaving Asma alone with two young daughters, aged 5 and 3. They had lived in the city just six months, moving there from Pakistan and initially settling in Auckland.
"I was waiting for Suhail, he was supposed to be coming for lunch. He left the office and called me at 1 o’clock to see how I was. But he was running late. I checked my phone. Suddenly I saw the messages from the Pakistani community group in my mobile…some shooting is happening in the mosque…I knew Suhail was going there, so I tried to call him. I started crying because I called and I called, and he did not answer. Other people were hearing from their husbands and I didn’t hear from Suhail.”
With the agonising waiting for news, and then more waiting to be able to travel, she was finally able to go to the hospital with Suhail’s friend. But he wasn’t in the hospital nor was he on the injured list. He was missing. Later she returned to the hospital, and then terrible news.
“Suhail’s older brother was there…his eyes were red, and he said Suhail is no more. I went and saw him at the funeral parlour, where they allowed me to see him – I spent some time with him, and he was smiling.”
Now Asma, 30, has been forced to rebuild her life, with help and encouragement from her family, the Pakistani community, and Victim Support.
"Now I will always stay here because Suhail is here. I always want to be near him.”
Asma’s support worker, Kala, met her a week after the shootings. "She’s a very courageous lady Asma, very strong. I provide encouragement for her."
Asma tells us: “Kala always says, ‘Don’t worry, I’m here and I can help you.’”
Victim Support arranged financial help for Asma in the immediate aftermath of the shootings. This enabled Asma to pay for the basics of life, such as rent, groceries, phone and internet costs. This was just the beginning of a long journey for her.
“I want to do something, so I asked Kala to help organise some professional English lessons.” Kala arranged those lessons and helped deal with day-to-day issues. She’s learnt to drive and has found a part-time job translating at Christchurch Hospital. Besides English, Asma speaks Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi. This is all part of her enormous effort to rebuild a life after this devastation.
“Suhail was very humble, down-to-earth, a good father, caring and loving. He loved nature and photography. Every weekend we used to do something like a picnic or go to a restaurant. I miss that. When I take my daughters to the park, they ask to be lifted on to the monkey bars. He used to do that with them. I can’t do it like he did. They say, where is Daddy, when is he coming back? I find that hard.”
Moments like those bring back memories of March 15. Inspired by the memory of Suhail, Asma keeps positive as she rebuilds her life. Suhail is buried at the Linwood cemetery in Christchurch along with many others who died in the attacks, and so Asma decided to stay in Christchurch.
“At first I wanted him buried in Pakistan but then I changed my mind,” she says. "Now I will always stay here because Suhail is here,” she says. "I always want to be near him.”
After the loss of her husband, Michelle faced a daunting court process that she would have struggled to get through without her Support Worker, Deborah.
Kathy helped Annie after being a victim of a traumatic robbery, and her emotional support helped in navigating the criminal justice system.
A touching story of grief and healing as Lynene shares her journey of the loss of her son Cameron and the help of Victim Support Worker Karen.
Chiquita survived the Aramoana massacre that killed her father and turned her struggle into a positive by volunteering at Victim Support.
After Tina's husband was fatally struck by a vehicle, she felt lost and alone in her grief. That's when Victim Support Worker Donna stepped in.
Jaedi's world was turned upside down when she heard the news of a tragic accident back home in Gisborne.
Victim Support helped Simon, a family harm victim, get after months of psychological abuse, threats and violence.
The story of two individuals impacted by suicide and how Victim Support was a crucial source of comfort and support during their time of need.
A woman reflects on the murder of her mother by the man who controlled their lives, and the subsequent loss of her family.
Diane shares the story of losing her daughter in a tragic road accident, caused by impatience and a split-second decision.
Karilyn Collins, whose son Glen was murdered, overcame her fear of leaving her home to speak in support of a new bill promoting victims' rights.
After Tina and her whānau lost a loved one to homicide, Victim Support Worker Shelly went above and beyond to help them through the court process.
Victim Support Worker Linda offered crucial support to Neil after his wife passed away in a tragic road accident.
Asma tragically lost her husband in the Christchurch mosque attack. Left alone with two young daughters, Asma turned to Victim Support for help.
Sarah shares her experience of being a witness in the trial for the death of her baby boy, who was killed by her ex-partner.
At Donna’s side from the first court hearing through to sentencing, Support Worker Deidre was instrumental in enabling her to give good evidence.
A traumatic experience can have such a huge impact on oneself that we can carry around for a lifetime.
Rahimi Ahmad and his family have made a fresh start, happily in their first home, made possible by donated funds paid to them by Victim Support.
Noela's life was shattered when her daughter was brutally murdered but thanks to her "diamond" support worker Nicky, she found the strength to speak out.
A grieving mother describes the invaluable support she received from Victim Support after her daughter's suicide.