I met Amani
I met Amani in a city park in Brussels. As we started talking, she began to cry.
Her father and two brothers were killed in Darfur; she and her husband had to leave. They made it to Libya, where her husband started working as a cleaner. One day he went to work and never came back. She doesn’t know if he is dead, or detained.
Feeling panicked and alone, but with a brother in England, she decided to try and make it there. She has been sleeping in parks, the station and the street for weeks.
The day we met she had had no food. Like so many refugees she was almost matter of fact about the difficulties she faces. ‘It is not good for women to sleep in the street. Women should live in a house.’
The situation in Belgium is difficult for men. Women face all the same issues, plus some more: sexual violence; access to toilets and sanitary wear (Amani wouldn’t have a hot cup of tea, even though she was freezing, as she had no idea when she’d next manage to access a toilet. With no money, how can you pay 70 cents for the loo?)
On International Women’s Day please spare a thought for women like Amani. To volunteer or donate go to www.care4calais.org