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I dread future for me and my daughter, says refugee in limbo for seven years

By Chris McCullough

Published 03/10/2015

Some of the asylum-seekers caught up in the processing system in Northern Ireland have told of their harrowing experiences.

One is a woman from Zimbabwe who has a two-year-old daughter who has had open-heart surgery.

The asylum-seeker, who said she was forced to flee her country, is being supported by the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (NICRAS).

She is still in the system after seven years and dreads what the future holds for her and her daughter.

"It's difficult moving from one place to another and not knowing what the future holds," the woman said. "It's very confusing for my daughter. It is very stressful and it is very hard to live.

"Clothing and nappies are expensive for children. I have to come to NICRAS for extra food and nappies."

The woman was refused asylum in 2011 but is currently in the appeals system.

A second woman, also from Zimbabwe, has been waiting 18 months for her second Home Office interview.

She said the process was "daunting, slow" and made her "feel like a criminal".

The single mother is also reliant on NICRAS for food parcels and baby products.

Another man from Kenya has been left homeless after his asylum application was refused.

The 29-year-old, who is exploring his options after losing his appeal, said that if it were not for groups like NICRAS and the Welcome Organisation, he would be without food, water and hygiene facilities.

"The homelessness is the biggest part of it and your mental state," he added. "It wears you out - living is hard. I take each day as it comes and hope tomorrow will be a better one."

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