Tariq:

“I’m an asylum seeker and I came to this country in 2004. I was born in Pakistan, in the city Koita. When the Taliban left fighting in Afghanistan, they came into our country. They caused a lot of trouble for us, they didn’t believe we were Muslim and so they started killing us through target killing and suicide attackers. In the last incident my uncle was killed, a suicide attacker came and attacked in a mosque. Soon after that my brother sent me out of the country because he believed I wasn’t safe there. They, [the Taliban], want to kill all of us, they sent letters in the newspaper, warning before that if we didn’t leave the city before 2013, all of my tribe, they would kill all of us. No one left and they started killing. My older brother told me ‘In England they take care of humans, they don’t care which religion you are from, which caste you have’, so that’s why I came here. My family packed my clothes and shoes but I came without any documents because I couldn’t take a visa. I came through Iran, and then our agent sent us in a big ship, we were altogether about 53 or 54 people in the ship. We saw a ship very far away and they, [the agents], thought it was the police, so they started pushing people into the sea, 5 at a time. A lot of people didn’t know how to swim, and the water was deep. They started shouting ‘Help us, help us’, but there was nobody to help them. We lost 13 people. We took them out of the sea, two young bodies. They came from Afghanistan I think. It took about 3 of 4 months, I’m not sure as we were not in our senses, they would just push us inside the lorry or underneath the lorry and it was very dangerous, we were busy taking care of our lives and forgot everything like what the date was or what day of the week it was, we didn’t know anything about it.

I have found Leicester City of Sanctuary, a very nice place to meet people because I am feeling bored. You’ve got no right to do anything in the country, you just feel as though you have been in a prison for the last 10 years, to go back is to die, some suicide bomber or target killer will kill me, but here, I feel they are killing me. We aren’t able to decide anything; they won’t give me work permission to work so I can give benefit to the country, and pay the taxes. Sitting in a house doing nothing is destroying the mind I think.

I love Leicester; I have started studying here in the Leicester College, and different places actually. I will start a job when I can, and give a benefit to the country, because I believe now that this is my country, for the last 10 years. I have forgotten everything back home, this is my country now ”

Herbert:

In 2005, Herbert had to flee Zimbabwe for his life. Whilst living there he had suffered a great deal of torture and beating which went on for a very long time. In fleeing he had to leave behind his mother, father and sister. However, upon Herbert leaving the country, his father was severely beaten and the wounds he obtained proved to be fatal. Herbert now has no family and this causes him to feel lost, he cries everyday because he feels alone. He claimed asylum and receives accommodation and vouchers for food, but is struggling to survive on minimum benefits. Currently, Herbert is waiting for the results of his asylum seeker claim, and has been in this situation for 6 years now. He would love to partake in courses and further education, which he isn’t entitled access to due to his status.  Being able to receive a higher education would drastically improve the quality of Herbert’s life, as it would facilitate him to obtain a good job, ultimately allowing him to achieve his main goal of simply improving his life.