Abba ‘s wife and son stayed behind in Khartoum when he came to seek asylum in the UK and have only been in touch over the phone for the past year.
“I am very happy to see them again. I missed my son for the long time I didn’t see him. He is in good health. In the future I want to live with my family in peace away from the war and fighting.”
To the people who’ve donated to us and Miles4Migrants to make Abba’s family reunion possible he says; “I can’t thank you enough.”
Dabir and Faridah were students in their home town in Syria. Dabir also taught English. He travelled to the UK to find safety and they ended up being apart for almost two years. Their only means of keeping in touch during this time was through Whatsapp and other mobile apps.
Dabir got in touch in January when his wife needed assistance to travel to the embassy in Lebanon to collect her visa decision. Unfortunately it was refused. He didn’t have enough income to fund the long and dangerous journeys from Syria and was worried this would prevent her from ever having a successful visa application. Unfortunately we had to turn down a request for assistance due to a lack of funds despite his wife facing urgent need through living in a war zone.
Late in June Dabir got back in touch with good news – the visa had finally been granted but the decision notification had been lost and he had received it very late with less than a week to arrange travel. We were able to fund his wife’s flight from Beirut to the UK.
“My wife’s trip to the UK was very challenging and difficult. She has crossed a lot of Syrian cities there was fighting going on and it was very risky. We were worried very much. We had such a huge deadline and the trip was very dangerous and difficult and expensive because she needed a visa to get to Lebanon too.”
“When she first arrived in London she felt relieved and excited and happy at meeting me and reuniting again in a safe and secure country.”
“We would like to get into an education course and carry on with study when it’s possible.”
An Afghan refugee. Atal has been in the UK for eight years without his family. His wife and children lived in a refugee camp in Pakistan where he was at least able to visit them occasionally. He and his brother established a life for themselves in the UK whilst he worked hard to get visas for his family. Atal’s children had lived all their lives in the camp and knew nothing of ‘normal’ everyday life. In the camp access to education was very limited and there were fears for the family’s safety. When he got in touch Atal was working with his solicitor to apply for visas to his family. He kept us informed through the process and when the visas were issued we were able to book flights quickly. With the family being refugees in Pakistan and having limited rights there were lots of uncertainties around the travel but Atal worked tirelessly to resolve each obstacle that came up and they were able to have an uncomplicated trip when the time came.
“To be honest when I was apart from my family I was very very upset and the life was very difficult. My family’s trip was absolutely pleasant, enjoyable and calm. For now they are OK but they may take more time to settle.
The UK is completely different from the refugee camp in Pakistan when comparing weather, environment, safety and social life. Everything is going well and we can breathe easy because we are safe.
In the future I will do everything for their upcoming future and their education. I will be trying to being my children to have good will to all humanity especially to the public of the UK.
Our god bless you.”
Atal’s son hopes one day to become a doctor and brought his text books from the camp to study on the journey. He managed to put aside his own nervousness about the trip to support his mother, sisters and younger brother on the flight. A family member asked us to pass on this message to the people who have helped them; “When you reunite one family a hundred people thank you.”
Kaden last saw his daughter Alima when she was 12 years old and a child he’d let help him drive by having her change the gears for him. Their life in Iran was very different to the situation they find themselves in now. Kaden lives in the UK and is studying English, he’s been her for 6 years and hopes that soon it will be good enough for him to find work as a fitness instructor. He currently lives in a small carefully decorated flat on a quiet suburban road. It won’t be big enough for both of them but he’s making arrangements to move. In readiness for Alima’s arrival everywhere has been cleaned and there are fruit and sweets laid out on the coffee table. He’s prepared a meal of traditional Iranian dishes for her when they get back from the airport.
They’ve kept in touch through Skype and messaging. It sounds like there have been a lot of tearful phone calls in anticipation of her journey. He hasn’t slept all week in excitement and anxiousness about her trip. ‘There’s lots to do for Alima when she arrives’ he tells me ‘She’s very clever’. She’s finished school in Iran and he plans to enrol her in the college he attends so she can begin learning English quickly. She wants to study Graphics, a course not available for her in their home town but one she should be able to access in the UK.
Children lose their status as a ‘dependent’ family members at 18 and Alima was granted her visa four months before her 18th birthday. If it hadn’t been granted this time she would have lost her right to come to the UK via the family reunion route permanently.
Kaden’s friend joins him for the trip to the airport. They met when she first came to the UK and didn’t have enough English to enrol onto her language course. Kaden was called to come and interpret for her. She’s very excited and comments on the changes he’s been making to the flat.
At the airport we wait nervously by what turns out to be the wrong arrivals exit. Kaden’s friend takes lots of photos and videos of him waiting and he gets embarrassed and pretends to hide behind the flowers he’s brought for Alima. When we spot her there’s a short pause and he approaches her. She immediately starts to cry and they share a long hug. Kaden introduces her to us and she smiles, looking a bit overwhelmed. On the journey back home there’s lots of excited chatting and phone calls being made to friends and relatives.
“I don’t know how to say or what to say because it’s really really helpful and so kind of you.’
Abdou was reunited with his wife and young son this month. He has another older child still waiting on a visa to the UK.
“We had been apart for just over two years and it hasn’t been easy at all. It has been the toughest thing that I have gone through in my life only being able to be in touch via Whatsapp and email. If we hadn’t had any help with my family’s travel to the UK to be honest we would just have had to let the visas go and expire.
I was very happy and excited to see my wife after two years. Her journey was good and she had no problems. Her first impressions were mainly about the weather but she was happy and excited to be here. In September I am going to study Accounting and Finance at Manchester University and my wife will also be going to university so we can contribute to the development of the country.”