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“We came to this country for security in our life and we are just treated like animals.”  

CONTENT TRIGGER WARNING: Please be aware the following article details experiences of deportation, being detained, and suicide attempts. Only read on if you feel comfortable to do so. 

Aaima arrived with her mother in the UK when she was 15 years old. They fled their home in the search of safety from their abuser and his family.

But since arriving in the UK in 2010, Aaima and her mother have faced detention, separation, and unimaginable mental suffering.

They received poor advice from their first solicitor, which lead to errors and delays in their case.

“We didn’t know who to trust. Our English was limited and we weren’t provided with an interpreter. I was only a child I didn’t understand the process.”  

Lack of support and clear guidance have meant that Aaima and her mother have spent years trapped in the limbo of the asylum system. Their case has been raised in court three times so far.

“That third time in court, it was a new unprepared solicitor he told the judge he needed more time, the judge was so angry and told him it was not possible and then refused the case.”

You can ensure people like Aaima and her mother receive the proper guidance needed to understand their rights and case progress. Will you donate what you can today?

We were so depressed. It had been years, and we had no clear support.” 

Aaima and her mother were determined to seek safety and remain together in the UK but instead were confronted with separation when Aaima was detained during a routine mandatory reporting session.

“It was horrible for my mum, we had never been separated before and it reminded her of when I was nearly taken in our home country.”  

Aaima and her mother were left completely in the dark. 

“No phone access, no nothing, and the first day you are not sure where they are taking you. Everything is blind.  

Blank, you are completely blank, thinking what would happen with me?” 

Aaima was detained for a total of three months and in that time her and her mother’s mental health severely deteriorated.  

On one occasion when Aaima tried phoning her mother, someone else from her hostel had picked up the phone.  

“She told me that the emergency services were with my mum as she had tried to take her own life.  

No one told me what was happening.  

Hours went by before I found out my mum was alive.”  

One month after her mother had tried to take her own life, Aaima was eventually released and she and her mother were both placed in asylum accommodation. Unfortunately, they were then met with unliveable conditions.

“When we arrived everywhere was damp, the boiler was leaking and the kitchen was full of cockroaches.

“There was a delay in getting the card we needed to access our asylum support payments so we couldn’t buy anything to clean the house. 

We tried contacting the housing provider but nothing changed.” 

They were eventually referred to Refugee Action. Because of the crucial generosity from supporters like you, our team were able to help the pair access GP support, gain the funds they were entitled to, and advocate for improvements to be made to their accommodation.   

“We started to feel if anything were to happen, at least there were people behind us supporting us.” 

Your Action Matters

could provide essentials, such as hygiene products, or travel support to people left without access to their funds. 

could host twice weekly coffee mornings with caseworkers who provide critical advice and support.

could help 10 people in crisis to access a session with a case worker providing support on their rights and legal advice.