Abdul was a Telecom Engineer and worked with the United Nations in Sudan. Under the dictatorship he became a target for their national security forces and fled to the United Arab Emirates. Being there as an immigrant he found he had a lack of human rights and uncertainty in being able to stay as his visa was linked to him remaining in employment.
He met his wife Katya in Russia seven years ago whilst he was there as a tourist and they married two years later. Katya is a law graduate and worked in a bank before they married and had Aleks. She then left her job to care for him full time.
Abdul describes their separation: “It was a really depressing time, especially being newly married and having a baby I needed to spend time with, to enjoy moments with him, watch him growing up and support my wife with raising a child. It also killed our relationship emotionally. The internet made our lives easier – we used Whatapp and Viber to communicate.”
“I came to the UK as a refugee and once I started to work I was on a low income, not enough for setting up a house and family, especially when I was sending my family money each month. When my family got a visa to join me I was delighted but on the other side was a struggle about how to buy tickets to get them to the UK. I contacted an organisation which supports refugees but because I was working I was not entitled to help. I lost hope but they said they would help by looking for another source of support.
They contacted Together Now on Friday and the tickets were booked that weekend which was unreal to me. On top of that I discovered the donor was from the USA and with them and the follow up team in the UK and US I really can’t explain my feeling that there is kind, supporting and helpful people.
It was not about buying tickets for me but also follow up with me from my family going to the airport in Russia til we met in the Belfast. I hope one day I will support this organisation because what they do is a really humanitarian job.”
“When we saw each other at the airport it was like a dream, full of tears, especially after the long time we have not met. The last time we were together my son was two years old. I am thankful he recognised me and had a gift I had bought him when we last met in June 2017”
“Katya faced some challenges on the journey, it was the first time for her to have a flight with a connection and it worried me as it was Heathrow which is one of the busiest airports and the connection was short but she managed to catch the next flight.
“My wife and son are finding it natural to be in the UK with the people the same although the weather is colder and there are not so many tall buildings. In the future I want to do a masters degree. I’d postponed this for two years as my family were away and half of my thinking and soul was with them.”