I am going to talk about why social connections especially family ties are so important for asylum seekers. Family is the most important thing in the world, because your family is always there for you.
I had to leave my three daughters in my home country and come to the UK in 2014. There were some gangs who brought me to the UK and they forced me to work for them as a slave. I was doing slavery job for them for a whole year. When I run away from them, a family from Sri Lanka helped me, they offered me their home and explained how to claim asylum. I did not know I could seek asylum and I had to wait until getting a refugee status to bring my daughters here.
Asylum seeking process was not easy. I felt like I am with a new family in London when I was with Sri Lankan Family. But when I applied asylum in Croydon, I was asked to move to Dover. In Dover, I made new friends and connections in the Salvation Army. These new connections made me feel like I am less alone, but I was always worried about my daugthers.
Four months later, I was again asked to move, but this time to Cardiff. I was already suffering from being apart from my daughters, and they were asking me to move and again cut my connections with my friends in Dover. I did not even know what Cardiff is, I was thinking it is another country, I was scared that they are deporting me. Then the driver told me that Cardiff is still in the UK.
My time in Cardiff was the most difficult time in my asylum journey. I was about to lose hope of joining with my daughters. I lost my friends here. On top of this, when I was put in initial accommodation after hours of waiting in the reception, I heard that my mom passed away. This night was the hardest night in my life, I did not even have a chance to see her for the last time. I developed mental health problems, being apart from my daughters, not being able to see my mum before she dies was just not easy.
Then I was moved to another city in Wales. Once again, I rebuilt a new life there, made good friends. I found a shoulder to cry, I told them my daughters are not here and I need them. They said you need to get your refugee status to be able to get them here. I continued with my life, I started volunteering in charity jobs, I went to community schools. Then I got my refugee status in April 2019, 5 years after I came here. I did not see my daughters for 5 years and I wanted to bring my children here.
I asked to citizen advice bureau. They said I can only bring my youngest daughter who is 17. They told me that my two other daughters are adults, because they are 22 and 24 years old. They told me I cannot bring them. I paid for a solicitor to help me bring the youngest one, and I am still waiting to hear from my application. But my other two daughters are angry at me. They keep saying to me that I don’t want them to come, I only love my youngest daughter and I do not love my older daughters.
This is so difficult, I want them to be safe with me. They are adults but they need family, I did not see them for 5 years and now they think that I do not love them.
Family is always there for you, and I want to be always there for my daughters, not just for one of them but for all of them.