It has given me an opportunity to work with some amazing people from across our planet, both colleagues and clients.
Alan, One Stop Service Adviser,
Hamid first came to the office in Ipswich. A quiet, shy young man with a big engaging smile. Slowly, over the years, overwhelmed by the asylum process, I watched the smile fade and his mental health deteriorate until he was struggling with his religious convictions and suicidal ideas. The “system” slowly, insidiously eroding his self worth, indeed his very sense of self as a human being with aspirations for a future.
It is likely that without the support offered to Hamid by colleagues and volunteers at the Refugee Council he would not have survived. There were periods when he was at real risk of taking his life.
Earlier this year, during one of Hamid's visits to this office he told me how a pair of pigeons had built a nest at the partially open window of his room ( in section 4 accommodation). How he left the window undisturbed so as not to frighten the birds away. In subsequent meetings he would tell me about the birds progress. Eggs were laid and Hamid watched the fledglings hatch and grow until they flew the nest. With a smile and in his broken English he said “ I gave them asylum” Then he spoke of his sadness at their departure and said how he wished it was him flying away to freedom. That was just a couple of weeks before he was granted status.