Young asylum seekers share stories to help people to understand why they are in Warwickshire

Hollie Hutchings (left) and Gary Timlin (right) of Lillington Youth Centre and Targeted Support for Young People with Samsoor who was one of the contributors to the Stories of Asylum booklet (pictured).
Hollie Hutchings (left) and Gary Timlin (right) of Lillington Youth Centre and Targeted Support for Young People with Samsoor who was one of the contributors to the Stories of Asylum booklet (pictured).

Young asylum seekers have shared the stories of their struggles so that others can understand about their life and why they are here in Warwickshire.

The teenagers have worked with staff from Lillington Youth Centre to produce the booklet Stories of Asylum which will be used in secondary schools for young people to discuss asylum and the reasons why it happens.

Stories of Aylsum

Stories of Aylsum

The stories include those from Allan, 16, from the Gaza Strip in Palestine who fled the bombing there with his family three years ago but was separated from his parents and later his four-year-old brother as he spent time in Egypt begging and living on the streets before he was eventually able to travel by boat to Italy and then make his way through France and then Belgium before he managed to get to England.

He said: “I am now in foster care but I am not well.

“My heart is broken.

“I cry all the time for my family and I do not know where my brother is.”

Taohoe, 15, from Kirkuk in Iraq was sent away “to a safer country” by his parents to escape the violence being used by Daesh (ISIS) against Kurdish Iranians such as himself and his family.

He was only able to travel because they had borrowed money to pay and his 13-year-old brother and one-year-old sister stayed behind.

He said; “There were many innocent people killed and I always fear for my family’s safety.

“I can still remember the night an unknown man came to collect me in a lorry to take me away.

“I was 13 then and I cried for hours.

“When I think about it I can see my parent’s tears and I remember that I was unable to look at my younger brother.

“At the time I had no idea if I would see my family again.”

“From there I cannot remember how much time I spent travelling.

“It felt like forever and is all a blur.”

Taohoe is now settled at a Warwickshire school but has had no way of contacting his family back in Iraq.

He said he likes school but still wakes up some nights crying or having had nightmares.

Many of the young people had experienced bullying and hostility from other young people at their schools in Warwickshire.

They had been called terrorists or ISIS.

They wondered if people understood why they had come to this country for safety then they would be treated more sympathetically.

Mohammed, 14, from Bahzani in northern Iraq was separated from his mother, father, older sister and brother when ISIS attacked his village.

He was only 11 when his uncle paid for him to be taken by lorry all the way to England where he and others were picked up by the police at a motorway service station and then put into the care of social workers.

He said: “I cry sometimes and I’m sad.

“I miss my family.

“My uncle in Wolverhampton went home a year ago and said my mother and sister are with my other uncle over there but no one knows where my brother and father are.

“I don’t know if they are still alive.

“I see my uncle most weekends and I like England.

“I do not mind the weather and I like school too.

“We never had a school back at home.”

**** Stories of Asylum was put together from accounts made by young people aged from 14 to 18 who came to England and Warwickshire from places such as the Gaza Strip, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The youngsters were sent away by their parents at a young age so they could escape war and terrorism and some have been living in the county for several years.

The young people worked with Warwickshire County Council’s Targeted Support for Young People service at Lillington Youth Centre.

Leamington Town Council funded the printing of the booklet which will be used in secondary schools.

The youngsters whose stories are in the booklet thought that if people understood why they had come to this country for safety then they would be treated more sympathetically.

This was in response to a number of them having faced bullying and hostility at their schools.

Still suffering from their traumatic experiences, most of the young people have lost contact with their families and are unsure as to wether their parents and siblings are still alive.