Katherine’s story

“We got married in 2003, I graduated in 2006 and am a medical doctor. My husband was a police officer but was unjustly accused by the government of being related to a rebel group. He was put in prison and the bad conditions led to his premature death. Working hard to find justice for my husband put my own life in danger – this is the reason why I left my country, my children, family and friends and the doctor work I loved and was passionate about. I moved into the UK to seek protection.

I have been in the UK for four years. I stayed in touch with the children through telephone calls and some text messages, also written letters passed on through members of the community visiting my home country.

Getting the visa for my son was not easy. It took almost two years from the time I was granted my refugee status because I could not find assistance from a solicitor.

Mahieu really wanted to join me in the UK as we had been apart for a long time, so we could see each other and be part of a family. With the death of his dad he has passed most of his 15 years with my mum feeling like he was an orphan child.

He told me that from the time he was told he was travelling to the UK he felt anxious and scared to travel alone without my mum, his sisters and cousins. Because of the separation feeling. As it was his first experience he did not enjoy the trip.

At the airport I was full of tears of joy. I did not believe I was seeing my son, alive and grown up, as I left a small boy of nine years old. It was too emotional for both of us. He also cried a lot as he did not believe he would see his mother again. In conclusion this was an amazing day for both of us.

Mahieu is finding some of the administration work in the UK stressful, it has taken a long time for him to start school. The UK weather, the cold season has also made him sick in the first two week and the language has made him feel confused but with the help of the internet and You Tube he is learning English at home. Mahieu is excited to be starting school soon.

My plans for the future are to unite with all my children [some of Katherine’s children are still waiting for their visas] and settle in the UK. After I have completed my degree I will be able to get a better job and rebuild my life. I wish to see Mahieu and my other children growing up and building a successful life in the UK.”