As a human and a refugee, I was heartbroken to hear of the situation in Manston Refugee Council
November 21, 2022

As a human and a refugee, I was heartbroken to hear of the situation in Manston

Photo: Reuters/Hannah McKay

My name is Zahra and I know from experience how hard it is to leave your home and family and start again somewhere else, especially when you are forced to flee from danger.

As a refugee from Afghanistan, I was forced to leave my homeland and my mum behind. It is unbearable for me now when I see that she is at risk. Sometimes I wish to be with her, even though it would put me in danger.

When someone is forced to leave their home and family, they deserve to live in peace in their new country, and they should have the right to study or work. The UK Government should put human rights first and provide people seeking asylum with food, safety, and space to live with dignity.

This is why it was so heartbreaking for me when I heard about the situation of asylum seekers in the Manston processing centre. The people who are currently there or who passed through the centre are also human – just as much as you and me. They had many problems causing them distress, and having to stay in inhumane conditions just doubles their grief.

The least that anyone deserves is to sleep somewhere in peace and eat with dignity. We must respect human beings and their basic rights. We are all human, so why should one person sleep on a comfortable bed while another is abandoned in chilly weather in a place with no beds, filled with disease?

Zahra working in her previous job as a news presenter in Afghanistan Zahra working in her previous job as a news presenter in Afghanistan

Many organisations are trying their best to support refugees and asylum seekers, but I actually think the Government should take on much more responsibility. The UK needs to be working in cooperation with other governments and international organisations in order to address forced migration around the world, instead of rejecting people seeking safety, leaving them homeless or in terrible accommodation, or sending them to another country.

How can we watch other people in distress without helping them? If we see another human on fire, we need to help put the fire out, not throw them back into the fire.

So, what is the best way to support people arriving here in search of safety? It is to let them stay in peace, provide them with a place to live and help them to stand on their feet. They can then integrate in our society and take part to help the UK economy and make it their home.

As a refugee, I feel their pain at being displaced and their worry as they do not know what will happen in their future.

As a human and as a refugee, I hope the UK Government decides to properly support the people arriving here in search of safety, to stop using the Manston centre as accommodation, and to let fellow humans live in this country in peace.

Zahra was recently featured in a Metro article sharing her heartbreak about people in Dover

Zahra in the Metro

Ex-Afghan TV host says her ‘heart is breaking’ for Dover asylum seekers - Metro
Zahra and her children recently met our patron Emma Thompson at a movie premiere

Meeting our patron

Zahra and her children at the Matilda premiere - Facebook