I would like to take the opportunity to share some experiences of being in the asylum system with young children in the United Kingdom. I was not able to have a bank account at all while in the process of asylum. I wasn’t able to have a TV or have any pets. I wasn’t allowed to have a driving licence to drive. Random people from the Housing Management Services were able to enter my house without any permission or appointment, and they had access to locks with extra keys. There were occasions when my children were in the bathroom and got scared of someone entering the property without knocking. I couldn’t pursue my career as a Teacher – that’s what I had my degree in – because of not being allowed to work.
Financial and mental struggles were so harsh as we had to survive on a certain budget without Home Office considerations of our travel expenses, uniform expenses when my children were starting school, or the special dietary needs of my child, who required specific foods due to severe allergies. The asylum system is a complete Full Stop on people’s abilities to survive and thrive. Frustration, because of not being able to provide for your family, is terrible.
I always admire the charities, food banks, children’s centres and organisations that are working hard to help people without any judgement. They have played a massive role in our survival throughout our asylum process. Now, as refugees, we are trying to make our lives better and also trying to make a difference in society. Projects like Covid Realities and Changing Realities are, in reality, changing people’s lives. In 2019, this was my only medium of communication with real people. I didn’t have any family, friends or anyone to speak to. I was able to share my experiences.