Yousif fled ethnic persecution in Sudan. After a long and arduous journey through northern Africa and mainland Europe, he arrived in the UK and successfully claimed asylum. Once granted refugee status, his temporary accommodation came to an end and he started sleeping rough in central London. Yousif found GrowTH’s shelter when a formerly homeless Sudanese friend told him about it.
Once in the shelter we soon realised that with Yousif’s eagerness to receive support in making the UK his home, he was an ideal candidate for our supported homes. We shared in last year’s Annual Report how Yousif was staying in one of our flats, volunteering at the Foodbank and learning English.
This past year Yousif’s life has completely changed
When Yousif fled Sudan, he had to leave his wife and young daughter behind. When we asked Yousif how GrowTH could support him, his immediate response was wanting to be reunited with his family. In the previous year he had applied for family reunion visas for his wife and daughter, yet he had been unsuccessful; more evidence was needed.
A law firm helped Yousif put together a fresh application for family reunion. Essential to this application was a DNA test which Matt, Yousif’s Advocate Worker, organised. Organising the logistics of paternity testing meetings in Khartoum was a first for GrowTH!
In January 2017 the news came through – Yousif’s wife and daughter had been awarded visas! It was a community effort to prepare for their arrival: A grant was given to pay for a bed for his daughter, and The Good Shepherd Mission donated toys and new clothes for the child. They landed safely in Heathrow and their new life in the UK began.
Yousif’s daughter was soon enrolled in a local nursery and an Arabic-speaking family from All Hallows Bow had them over for dinner. Yet the transition from rural Sudan to Poplar was a significant one. They soon felt like they wanted to leave London and move to Edinburgh where they had Sudanese connections.
We are now glad to say that, with the help of local organisations in Edinburgh, they now are settled in a flat in that city! They are grateful for all the help churches in Tower Hamlets have given them and Yousif is still regularly in touch with Matt.
“I’m feeling very happy. All my family is very happy. Edinburgh is a very, very, very nice city.”