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Sanctuary Stories

“When I first came to this country I was very sad, depressed and bored. I had a lot of problems with my situation and my life. Sometimes I cried. I had no English and no teacher. I said to God, ‘You know me, please help me.’ I went to Church after some people invited me and I prayed there. I felt very confused.

I had problems finding a school for my children. For three months they didn’t go to school. They then started school after I got information from a friend at the church. My children were very upset as they couldn’t speak English and couldn’t communicate. After six months my daughter was bullied for not being able to speak English and not being British. She wanted to stay home and not go to school. I had to persuade her to go to school and explained how important learning English was.

I now feel more free. It took small steps to make my situation better.

I found out about City of Sanctuary when I went to Piccadilly Gardens and I was feeling very sad. Someone came and sat beside me and I think she must have been sent by God. She asked me, ‘You look very sad are you alright?’ I began to cry and explained my situation. She asked if I wanted to join a community? At that time I didn’t understand much English and I didn’t know what she meant. She explained it was people coming together and I said, ‘Yes I would.’ I didn’t have a mobile phone, so she said to meet her in the same place in Piccadilly Gardens the next day and she would take me to this community. I said I would. My family were worried about me going back the next day, they thought I might get lost and not know where I was going, but I went and she was there. She brought me to Cross Street Chapel and I met Jane and found out about City of Sanctuary. I have made friends and really enjoyed my time and felt happy with this group. Everyday I was waiting for the next meeting of City of Sanctuary to see everyone again. The group was so kind and friendly and I could learn English. It has been wonderful.

Now whenever I see people who are refugee and asylum seekers anywhere, like on the bus, I speak to them and invite them to City of Sanctuary like the woman did for me, so they can have the support and friendship. Everyone should have a happy life, it is a human right.”