I never thought I would have to express myself in the end of the year like this. Seeking asylum is not a crime. Recent events throughout the year have greatly concerned me because I am an asylum seeker. Am I illegal? Am I doing something wrong? The more I try not to think about it, the more it comes back to me. I try not to read the comments below online posts that speak against me and my brothers and sisters who are trying to come to the UK, or are trying to seek refuge elsewhere. The world has made me thinking illegal now on then. It’s like a trauma that comes back to me every day. I don’t feel good when I introduce myself to people because I know that at some point in the conversation they will ask me – “where are you from and what do you do?” The moment I explain that I am an asylum seeker, my trauma starts up again like clockwork. I thought I wouldn’t have to express this, but now that I am a refugee week leader, I have a responsibility towards my community and my country, which is now the United Kingdom.
A couple of days ago I was asked by one of my favourite people from Refugee Action what I want in the new year. With that thought and hope in my mind, I urge you to listen:
1. Can I be a part of your community?
2. Every life matters beyond borders. The blaming of refugees for their arrival in already stressed communities should be countered with stories about the background and reasons for their becoming refugees.
3. Can you please talk to us and talk about us in public?
4. Please ask us if you are not sure about us. We will clarify for you.
5. Assumptions about refugees’ motivation to take advantage of benefits and housing availability is not based on facts and needs better publicity from the UK government and Home Office.
6. Can we be more responsible for climate change?
7. Refugees need to be valued in their new surroundings and this can be helped by the development of community projects which bring them into contact with local people and project them in a positive role.
8. Can we please think about more education for Asylum Seekers? This will give us opportunity to integrate.
9. I request that the Home Office considers the rights of refugee children. To end the destitution of Asylum Seekers, give us the right to work. Give us access to education and better policies to protect victims of modern-day slavery and human trafficking in the UK.
10. Last, but not least, I would like to spread the theme of Refugee Week 2020 – “Different Pasts, Shared Future”. I think “Education Empowers”!
My mother always used to tell me, “Be there for people, be there for your community – and good things happen in return “.
Please keep me in your blessings.
Md (Leadership + Empowerment 2020)
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