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10 tips for refugees whose asylum statuses have not been determined

Daily actions to survive in the hostile environment

Keep busy

one of the ways
one keeps themselves sane
in this hostile environment
is to keep busy

a case in point
I attend vigils
I give talks
of encouragement

you don’t have to be better off
to give
just your care,
attention and a smile

can heal someone
who is going through a rough patch
get involved in community activism
and activities

there is so much one can get
and give at the same time
and when the mind is not idle
evil and desperate thoughts have no space.

As a refugee, the process of seeking asylum can be a long and uncertain journey. You may have fled your home country due to persecution, violence, or other dangers that we face, and you may be living in a new country while you wait for your status to be determined.

If your refugee status is not yet secure, it can be a difficult and stressful time. You may be unsure of your future and worried about your ability to stay in your new country. You may also be facing financial challenges and other difficulties as you try to make a new life for yourself, while still worried about the families you’ve left behind. 

However, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many organisations and resources available to help you navigate this difficult time. What I will be sharing are my own experiences through the seven years that I was subjected to the UK asylum system. In August 2022, I finally got refugee status.

10 tips to keep in mind

  • Know your rights.
    It is important to understand your rights as a refugee. Depending on your situation, you may have the right to work, go to college/school, receive healthcare, and other basic necessities.
  • Seek legal assistance.
    If you are unsure of your legal status or have any questions about the asylum process, it is a good idea to seek the help of a lawyer or legal aid organisation. These professionals can provide you with the information and guidance you need. Legal aid has its own challenges but try.
  • Connect with others.
    It can be helpful to connect with other refugees or immigrant communities in your area. They may be able to provide you with support, advice, and most importantly a sense of belonging.
  • Take care of your mental health.
    The process of seeking asylum can be emotionally draining. It is important to take care of your mental health and seek support if you are feeling overwhelmed or distressed
  • Be patient.
    The process of seeking asylum can take time, and it is important to be patient and stay positive. Remember that you are strong and resilient, and you have the ability to overcome challenges and build a new life for yourself.
  • Keep busy.
    This can be anything from taking up a hobby, learning a skill through free online courses, creative writing, going to college, activism, volunteering etc. Do whatever brings you joy – get busy.
  • Trust someone.
    In order to continue to fight sometimes what we all need is a listening ear and a warm heart.
  • Be present.
    When you can, it’s also important to be there for others. It brings so much satisfaction into our hearts which helps us to love life.
  • Have a plan.
    As much as we expect a positive decision on our asylum case, we also know that negative decisions are also being given out. So, either way, have a plan in place. This will help you to not be overwhelmed e.g. who are the good solicitors you would approach if you get a refusal? Where will you seek accommodation? On the other hand, having an understanding of the process you will have to go through following a positive decision will prepare you for the challenges in this journey too
  • Pray.
    If you are a person of faith have conversations with God daily. “You said in your Word that you will give me courage, that I wont have fear.” To some people it’s the process of visioning, or meditation. Whatever it is, do something that helps you to find peace within yourself.

If you are a refugee whose status is not yet determined, know that you are not alone. There are many resources and support systems available to help you navigate this difficult time. 

Stay strong and keep working towards a brighter future.

What can you do?

Illustration by Javie Huxley @javhux who says:
I was inspired by the warmth and hope in Loraine’s poem.  There’s elements such as the candles and flowers to represent vigils and those harmed at the hands of the hostile environment. The pencil paper represents keeping busy and buried in the endless paperwork. However, the focal point of the two people hugging is to show the connection and community Loraine advises can help in the process of seeking asylum.

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