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No choice but to escape

Meet Mariyan. A lone mother fighting for her rights, and for everyone in need of international protection in the UK today.

Mariyan ended up in the UK three years ago, in a desperate search for safety after fleeing al-Shabaab’s reign of terror when they victimised her in the most violent and horrific way.

She was targeted for working in an admin role for the government, in Somalia, to support her young family.

Al-Shabaab is a violent jihadist group operating in East Africa. In their menacing black masks, they intimidated Mariyan with threatening messages, followed her every movement and even murdered her brother in front of her own eyes.

Al-Shabaab were deadly serious. Mariyan knew she had no choice but to escape if she wanted to live. This meant leaving her children behind in Somalia with her mother. She thought once she was safe, they would be able to join her. She never dreamed she would be apart from them for so long.

That was three years ago.
Mariyan is still alone in the UK without her children and without an asylum decision.

“Waiting has impacted me in many ways. Right now, I feel like I’m in prison. I think all the time. I think about my family back home.

“Why they are holding me up for so long? We are just in the dark.”


No update from The Home Office

It’s been an agonising wait for Mariyan. Since her asylum interview – in which she was interrogated by the Home Office and the interpreter failed to relay everything she said – Mariyan has been waiting. Attempt after attempt to find out about her asylum claim has brought no update from the Home Office.

Your generosity

With the generosity of our supporters behind us, we’re doing everything we can to help Mariyan. Expert case workers are looking into Mariyan’s asylum case to find out the cause of the delays. Mariyan’s situation is unfortunately not an exception.

We often hear tragic stories from people we are helping who have been waiting months, even years, for an asylum decision. Their lives put on hold.

This is why we’ve launched this special appeal for monthly givers, to help ensure we can plan ahead and commit to supporting more people like Mariyan, for as long as it takes.

Donate now

By making a small gift to Refugee Action each month, you can help provide the stable, long-term funding our services so desperately need.

Your monthly gift could prevent another mother like Mariyan from being denied her right to a fair hearing on her asylum claim, before it’s too late.

could train an Asylum Guide volunteer to help support people seeking safety on their asylum journey and to navigate a complicated and uncaring asylum system

could pay for an expert case worker to help resolve long complex asylum cases like Mariyan’s, so they can rebuild their lives in safety in the UK

could help us campaign even harder for a just and compassionate asylum system that doesn’t leave vulnerable people waiting years for an asylum decision

An act of humanity

Making a monthly gift will be more than a donation. It will be an act of humanity. Your long-term support could help save lives like Mariyan’s, and the countless others in similar positions. It could be the difference between someone having the right to safety, or being sent back to face persecution all over again.

Please help humanity to win. Thank you.