Adelina and how VRF was there for her
“The government’s policy of denying welfare support to asylum seekers is leaving them without food and shelter, with six out of 10 forced to sleep rough, according to a report published today by a group of refugee organisations.” (Shifrin, 2002) This excerpt is from a report published in 2004; in 2014 a new report published: 28 Days Later: the experiences of new refugees in the UK, 28 marks a key period, it is the period after which asylum benefits stop and people find themselves in a foreign country, possibly not even speaking the language and seeking help from a failing system, burdened with flaws and bureaucracy (Douglas, 2014).
This is the story of Adelina and how VRF was there for her so she never had to suffer from this.
Before telling you about what I have been through I would like to thank you all at the Vicar’s Relief Fund for your invaluable financial support you gave me through the Refugee Information Centre. You gave me such a big boost and lifted my moral at the time I needed to feel someone is holding my hand, willing to help me make my first steps in my new home where I don’t have any English language skill, friend, relative, and confused as memories of persecution suffered in the DR Congo still clinging in a my mind. But you made me feel there is a warm caring hand around me when I became homeless during transitional period, the period between the determination of my asylum and the application for benefits. I can’t thank you enough.
My husband, Sylvain*, is a Journalist and a human rights campaigner who used to work for a local charity. He has suffered a great deal of persecution by the Congolese local Government authorities owing to the nature of his job. He was arrested and jailed in a number of times and on 17th May 2012 he was reported missing till now.
On 23rd July 2013 at about 10h am, when returning from the market, near my home, I met four people who asked me to stop. They told me that I was finished. They held me by force and took me in a place which was dark. They raped me. I thought I was not going to survive. I was screaming until about 20h00 when they gave me a bit of rest before as they wanted to smoke and eat.
When I asked them to go to toilet, they told me to do it outside behind the house in which they were torturing me. They didn’t realise the gate was left open giving the opportunity to escape. I entered the bush which was nearby; I followed a path I found on my way down.
With the help of others, I travelled with false documents which were arranged for me in order to help me escape. I didn’t know who was behind the panning of my escape, probably people who knew my husband and his good work for the vulnerable and voiceless people.
Upon arrival at the airport I claimed asylum as instructed. I then realised I was in England. I was held in detention for few days, interviewed by immigration and granted refugee status.
I suffered a lot because I become homeless as the person who accommodated me could only do so for three days. With the assistance received at the Refugee Information Centre which managed to request a small grant for me to the Vicar’s Relief Fund, my life began to be turned around as the fund has a huge impact on us as a family.
*This name has been changed for privacy purposes