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Charity came to aid refugee

PUBLISHED: 14:01 22 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:36 24 August 2010

by Roxanne Blakelock An asylum seeker who fled from Chad after his family were killed shared his thoughts with the Times during Refugee Week. Youssouf Brahim, 23, originally from Chad, now lives in Chippenham Gardens, South Kilbu

by Roxanne Blakelock

An asylum seeker who fled from Chad after his family were killed shared his thoughts with the Times during Refugee Week.

Youssouf Brahim, 23, originally from Chad, now lives in Chippenham Gardens, South Kilburn with his wife.

He has lived in Brent since he was 16 and arrived alone unable to speak English, before discovering Salusbury World (SW), a refugee charity based at Salusbury Primary School in Salusbury Road, Queen's Park.

Mr Brahim said: "I suffered a lot before I got on my feet - before I met Salusbury World. My father was involved in a rebellion in Chad and the government killed him.

"I was moved about to 15 different houses just in Brent by social services and put in accommodation with people with mental health and drug problems."

Youssouf was detained for one month in 2004 at Gatwick Airport before being sent to Dover, with no explanation.

He said: "When I was in prison here, I wished they had just killed me in Chad. I thought things would be better here.

"SW really looked after me until I got out of detention. It was like a typical prison.

"Social services didn't know I was there. They only knew when SW told them. If I had money I would give the rest of my life to SW."

He still experiences a lot of prejudice but now he speaks English things are easier.

"Many people become mental because they have no-one to talk to. I didn't have any friends or family when I arrived. You can't learn the language by yourself.

"You can spend the rest of your life lost if people put up barriers. How can you speak English if no-one helps you? At the beginning I had a really hard time.

"I am happy in this country now. I have many opportunities now after my suffering. I would be ill or in prison if it wasn't for SW, but I'm still in pain - I was treated really badly. I would never wish anyone to come to this country to seek asylum. I would go back to Chad tomorrow if things changed there."

Youssouf received indefinite leave to stay in 2006 and now works as a data entry administrator but has plans to go to university.

roxanne.blakelock@archant.co.uk


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