Victoria’s Story #RefugeeWeek
Over the last year our television screens, smart phones, radios and newspapers have been full of heartbreaking stories of displaced refugees whose lives are marked by devastation and loss.
This #RefugeeWeek let us focus on a story close to home, from one asylum seeker in the UK. Victoria from Africa* wanted to tell you her story.
(*Although Victoria is keen to share her story, she does not feel safe in naming the country or the region of Africa that she once called home.)
“I wasn’t prepared, I had to run.”
In 2014, I came to the UK to ask for protection because in my country I was arrested and they wanted to kill me. I fled my country to come here for protection. I wasn’t prepared, I had to run.
I came for protection but, for me it is like double torture. In my home country I was tortured, and now again in the UK it has been more torture – even now, because I don’t have that protection. Last year, everything stopped- no support, no money, nothing since I have been refused.
Since I have been in the UK I’ve had mental health problems and taken medication for depression, and I’ve had sessions with a psychologist. When I received the refusal letter, it made me go down further. I was very depressed at that time. I didn’t know what I could do, because after I was refused, the accommodation stopped as well. I had nothing to eat, and I was very depressed.
It is worse for a woman to be homeless, than a man. You have no security and you are very vulnerable. Something can happen to you at any time because you are a woman. I have heard stories from people who say that when there is no security women can be raped or sexually exploited. Men say that they can help you, but then you go and in the night it is not safe.
One night, I had to sleep in a bus station.
But then I came to Boaz.
I am a survivor. Boaz house is my therapy. I found friends in Boaz houses. Boaz activities help de-stress me, for example conversation club helped me with my English, and going out on trips makes me feel good. Having a bus ticket helps me so much – it helps me travel to see my lawyer, go to medical and psychological appointments and helps me to visit different places in Manchester. Boaz are also helping me with my case for asylum.
Life without Boaz would be like madness. I would be very down, desperate and depressed. I would have lots of sickness. Having a case worker at Boaz is important, and it is important that it is a woman so that I can be very, very open. If it was a man it can bring back bad memories.
I hope that one day the Home Office will believe me and they will agree that what I am saying is true. In the future, when I work, I want to help people. Not just asylum seekers, anybody.
“I am a survivor. Boaz house is my therapy.”
Sadly, we hear these stories of destitution and distress all too often. This year at Boaz we are hoping to open more houses, to accommodate those like Victoria who are in desperate need. Please will you stand with us this Refugee Week, and help us to house and support even more people who have found themselves destitute and alone?
A gift of £25 could buy a welcome pack for a destitute asylum seeker moving from homelessness into the safety of one of our Boaz houses.
A gift of £50 could pay for a monthly bus pass for an asylum seeker, like Victoria, to travel to much needed appointments to continue their case for asylum.
A gift of £250 could pay for another asylum seeker to be housed in safe and stable accommodation for three months.
Please could you also consider giving monthly to the work of Boaz so that we can continue to bring hope all year round. https://www.give.net/20100645
Thank you for supporting Boaz!