Tigist fled to the UK following persecution and her husband’s wrongful imprisonment. As an asylum seeker she was moved from Liverpool to Manchester, and then to London, where she spent a period of time sofa surfing and sleeping rough.
When her husband was eventually released, they could finally speak on the phone, but this was the hardest time for her husband:
“I was so worried about her, I couldn’t help her. She had no job, no home. All I could do was hear her voice, I felt so useless.”
Tigist was granted asylum in September 2011 and also applied for her husband to come to the UK, but was told that her marriage was not valid in Kenya, so there was no evidence of ‘family life’.
“I felt so frustrated. Being here on my own was very lonely, I wanted to build our lives together, but we were thousands of miles apart.
Eventually Tigist found a room in a homelessness hostel near to the Centre, where a fellow resident told them that the Centre was the best place to go for help:
“Everyone was so kind. I knew when I arrived that it was a good place.”
Tigist enrolled onto the Centre’s Jobs club, and has found work as a carer. Jeanita, one of the Centre’s employment advisors says that “Tigist is one of the most hardworking people I have ever met. She is so motivated, both because she craves independence, but also because you can only bring a spouse to the UK if you can prove you can support them. Tigist is working three jobs to make sure that she is doing everything she can to see him again”.
Once she was earning money, the housing team managed to find her a studio flat nearby too, but Tigist’s real goal was to see her husband. After advocating on her behalf, the immigration team managed to secure a Visa for him and two days later he was on a flight to the UK.
After four years apart, they are finally together again. When we met her husband last week he could not have been happier:
“All the staff at the Centre, feel like family to me already. I know everyone’s name, because they were helping Tigist when I couldn’t. It’s so emotional to be here, and to be together. Once I have my National Insurance, I am going to work hard to look after my wife – she has been through enough”.
Tigist is just one of many people work who come to the Centre every day, desperate for help. We know that with support from the Centre, people can change their life for the better.
But we can’t do it without you.
Please help to bring hope to people like Tigist, by making a donation to the Centre today: