Tag: asylum seekers

“I know I have a lot to give”: a young asylum seeker’s story

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A young woman from the Surviving to Thriving project looks away from the camera

A young asylum seeker at a Surviving to Thriving group © Dan Burwood/British Red Cross

Dalia* was just 16 when conflict forced her to flee her home in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  She is now 18 and is getting help from a Red Cross project in Birmingham to share her experiences and thrive in her new life.

“I didn’t know where I was going when I left Congo,” Dalia said.

“I was living my life normally, like every child, and my life changed suddenly.

“My uncle said I had to be safe. I tried to ask about my family but he said ‘you just have to go. The rest is not your problem, just go’.”

Dalia’s uncle sent her away with one of his friends, who brought her to Angola before continuing on to Europe.

“Arriving in the UK was so scary”

When Dalia got to England, she was given to someone she didn’t know. “He drove me to the police station and he told me I would be safe there,” Dalia remembered.

“Then he left me and he was gone.”

“It was difficult because I don’t know the country, I don’t know the city, I don’t know which language to speak.

“At the police station I just said asil [asylum] in French because I couldn’t even say that in English.

“I was really afraid because I didn’t know if the police would return me the same day.  I thought maybe today I’m going back to my country.

“I stayed for many hours waiting at the police station and I didn’t know if I was going to prison. I didn’t know what they would do with me.”

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“We are a family again”: Syrian refugees start a new life in Glasgow

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Syrian refugees now living in Glasgow, Mohamed, Amina and their five children stand togather and smile at the camera

Mohamed, Amina and their children © Emma Levy/British Red Cross

“We are a family again.”

Amina smiled as she described how it felt to be reunited with her husband Mohamed after years of being apart.

“The children were always asking about their dad.

“I sometimes didn’t know how to explain our situation to them. It was very difficult. I felt I wasn’t living – I was just existing.”

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Living with loneliness as a refugee

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With all the stigma and stress refugees and asylum seekers face, loneliness is not seen as an obvious problem. It is.

There are many reasons refugees and asylum seekers experience loneliness. They have to contend with language barriers and cultural differences and are often separated from family and friends. They also often lack the income to be socially involved.

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No money for milk: the new mums neglected by UK asylum system

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woman holding toddler

© Chris Leslie

They say everything changes overnight.

All of a sudden there’s a new person in the world. Your person. A little boy or girl that makes your every other care melt away.

It’s supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life, and for most new mothers the experience is exactly that.

But what of those women in the UK’s asylum system? How does motherhood treat them?

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Bringing up a baby in a car: how our asylum system is failing families

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Red Cross volunteer speaks to Dilipa

Before the war life was good for Dilipa. She loves her country – the weather, the fresh produce, the lifestyle.

But after 2000, hostilities between the government and Tamil separatists increased. Life for ordinary Tamils in Sri Lanka became more and more difficult.

Members of Dilipa’s family were questioned and even tortured. They would get arrested for small things such as not having an ID card on them.

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