‘I first came to the UK on a temporary work permit, to work as a supervised practice Nurse. I was really excited to have such a brilliant opportunity.
But when I tried to register professionally with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in London, I ran into all sorts of problems. It seemed that my papers were not in proper order and I had to stop work. I was devastated.
At the same time, my teenage son, who had come to England with me, was starting to play up and be difficult at home. But when I told my family back in Zambia, they just thought he was getting too westernised, which wasn’t much help. I felt quite ashamed and blamed myself for the situation.
On top of that, when I applied to remain in the UK, Immigration refused my application and told me that we had to leave the country. I was given two days’ notice to get out of my accommodation, and because of my immigration status, I could not work or claim any benefits.
I also had no money to pay a solicitor for legal advice, but I did approach one. She told me to put in a formal claim for asylum, but I was so upset by now that I just couldn’t handle the work involved.
That was a really terrible time. Being unable to work made me forget the skills I had, and I felt unhappy and bored with nothing to do. I even considered suicide.
Luckily for me, I was put in touch with the Clear Project in Southampton, a charity that supports immigrants. They suggested I contact SWVG, who’ve supported me practically, financially and emotionally ever since, and matched me with a really wonderful visitor who has helped me regain my confidence.
Things are going much better now. My son is settling in school and I hope that soon we will have a proper place to live as a family again. I believe that we will have a future here. I have begun to feel like a human being again.’