by: Mariatu, a Sierra Leonean refugee in the UK
Mariatu lives with her three young children in London. Her three oldest children, now in their late teens, remained in her home country as she has become separated from them whilst seeking asylum.
“I waited twelve years apart from my children. After some years of talking to various sources and with the help of an expert based in London I got in touch with them and we started talking on the phone. I was worried about their wellbeing, food, shelter and schooling.
Getting the visa for them to join me wasn’t too hard but it wasn’t easy. I had a solicitor to help me with the process. A big sigh of relief came right through my body when they got the visas. I took a deep breath and thanked god.
I can’t imagine now what I would have done or how difficult it would have been without the help I received with their travel.
The first weeks together have been wonderful, amazing. I don’t have much to give them but we have each other and once more we are bonding together. In the future I want my children to be educated and work hard so we can contribute positively to this kind nation.”
“We weren’t feeling good in any way when we were apart from our mum. Waiting for the visa was a very anxious time. We had sleepless nights and couldn’t eat much. It was the happiest moment when the flights were booked but the anxiety levels rose again. The journey was our first time in a flight which was very stressful and tiring. But we treated it like an adventure, determined to face any challenge as long as we could see our mum in person.
Seeing our mum was like a dream come true. Everyone was laughing and crying at the same time as we hugged each other. The UK is a nice, friendly and tolerant place with diverse communities and opportunities to develop our lives.
Our plan for the future is to develop ourselves and contribute to this nation. Our development is our way of saying thank you.”