Posted: 30 March 2017

Defeating the odds

Din Nazim has worked with us since September 2012. His experience working with unaccompanied child refugees exceeds 8 years.

Advocacy at Urban House

As part of my role, I deliver drop-in and awareness raising sessions to newly arrived families and young people from asylum seeking backgrounds, at the Urban House induction centre in Wakefield.

The purpose of these sessions is to empower young people and families to access relevant information about their rights and entitlements, before they are dispersed to other cities around the country. It is hoped that having improved access to local services will reduce the risk of destitution, as well as other forms of harm.

Utilising my own multilingual skills, I can support these young people by translating letters, booking appointments with solicitors and helping them grasp a cross-cultural understanding of UK law.

Working with Ahsanullah

On one rainy Friday I met Ahsanullah.

 He came to me during a drop-in and talked in his own language (Dari):

‘Can you help me? I don’t know why they sent me here?’

On Arrival Ahsanullah was 16 years old. He was supposed to be in a safe house or in a foster family, but he found himself in adult accommodation. It is heart-breaking to see that young people who hope to seek refuge in the UK are instead faced with a frightening and lonely reality.

Many refugee children, who arrive by themselves, often have no way of proving their age to the authorities. It may be the case that they haven’t had time to get their documents together before fleeing their country, or that many of these countries don’t register births in the same way that we do.  This is exactly what happened to Ahsanullah. When he arrived in the UK, hidden in the back of a lorry, the authorities in Kent did not believe that he was under 18.

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You can help child refugees

Find out more about our work with child refugees and what you can do to help

Because he looked older, Ahsanullah was classed as an adult and wrongly sent to an adult induction centre in Wakefield. By the time I met him at Urban House he was traumatised and suffering from anxiety and stress. Between 2012 and 2016 I have helped over 20 unaccompanied children who were age disputed by both social services and the Home Office. The impact that this has on these children and young people is devastating.  

Providing support

The sessions we provide at Urban House help us to identify young people, like Ahsanullah, who are in need of our support. It was my pleasure to work with Ahsanullah, talk to him in his own language and to help him understand what services are available to support him. Through our 1:1 advocacy support he has been able to access rights and entitlements that many take for granted, such as an education, legal support, mentoring support and involvement in youth groups.

Creating a future

Ahsanullah is uniquely resilient and has progressed tremendously. He now has access to a full time education and is part of one of our participation groups. In March 2016 Ahsanullah received the Star for the Future Award during our Over the Rainbow event. 

Young refugee winning award at our Over the Rainbow event

Ahsanullah receiving his award at our Over the Rainbow event

In December 2016, he was interviewed by the Guardian in support of our partnership, which helped raise £600,000 for our refugee and migrant services, so that we can continue to provide support for young people just like Ahsanullah.

Thank you

Our specialist staff across the country provide support and advice for those who arrive alone in this country. We help them to settle, stay safe and access the services they need. Without your continued support we could not achieve this – so, thank you.

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Akash's story, a child refugee

Posted: 20 December 2016

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Hamid's story, a child refugee

Posted: 23 January 2017

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All aboard

Posted: 31 January 2017