“I am safe, and it’s because of you.”
This morning my phone kept ringing. I have a crazy to-do list that never comes down, so I ignored it. I could see who it was. There are hundreds of refugees who are my friends, but nowadays I just ask one thing – are you OK? – and if they’re fine, I keep working. I have no time to do anything else. I can’t be their friends anymore, there are just too many. I’m just there for problems and emergencies.
But this morning it kept ringing and ringing. He would not take the hint. So, in the end, I answered. Maybe he wasn’t OK after all.
I was met with the biggest grin in the world, and the happy face was showing me his new ID card. “Clara, I am safe now. It’s because of you. I had to tell you first”.
It’s so great when we get these messages to say someone has been granted asylum. But this one was extra special.
This guy was deported by our government in 2020 when they were on a mission to deport everyone they could before Brexit happened and the law changed. I met him in Calais after his deportation and he was broken, terrified and alone. He wouldn’t even speak to me. He was convinced there was no hope, and no one could help.
But it turns out our Government was wrong.
Having converted to Christianity in Iran and nearly losing his life, my friend had a strong claim to asylum. He got back to the UK again, and a wonderful lawyer I know fought for him.
A church near where he stayed befriended him.
And slowly, slowly he came back to life.
Now he wants to come and cook dinner for me! Of course I can’t take time off for that. We have thousands more to fight for, and there are never enough hours in the day. But how lovely to share in his joy.
And what a lovely gift that phone call was to give me on this very special day.
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