Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL)
We partnered with Ilford-based charity Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL) to fund the salary of a part-time Advisor to support their clients. Alongside their £74,650 grant, which is being delivered over three years, RAMFEL has benefitted from developmental support around finance and communications funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation.
When Malawi-born Yami left her abusive partner, she lost her right to remain in the UK – but she couldn’t leave because her daughter desperately needed medical treatment. She says:
“My daughter’s condition is so serious that sometimes I don’t sleep at night. I made a plan: social services were trying to bribe me to leave, to take £2,000 each. I didn’t want to fight any more, but my daughter needed to stay here. So I was going to take the money, give all £4,000 to my daughter and leave her with my best friend here. I said I’d go because this was not what I wanted for my child – a mother who couldn’t help her.
“In desperation I called RAMFEL and they said I had a good case, because of my daughter’s health. In October I met with Clémence [RAMFEL’s Immigration Service Manager], and she said they would take my case on. After the meeting, I sent all my documents in – and in January we got our papers.
“I was shocked. I didn’t think it would be that quick. I’m so grateful to Clémence for everything she did for us. Other people tell you for £300 they’ll make it work, they’ll go to the moon and stars for you, they’d promise you anything for the right price. But when you don’t have money it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. We’re so lucky we found RAMFEL. Otherwise I would’ve gone back home and left my daughter… I’d have left her with someone who loves her very much, but still isn’t her mother.”
Saifullah was also helped by RAMFEL. He says:
"I am from Afghanistan. I was a prisoner for two and a half years and then when I escaped, I finally came here through an agent. We came to Italy and then he brought us to France, and from France they put us in a lorry. Finally, we arrived in England in July 2017 – to Hangar Lane. That was my first step in England. Sometimes I go there still, to remind myself what I’ve gone through and what opportunities I have now. Two months ago I received refugee status, so I hope it’s a new start for my life. It’s an opportunity to change my life, work for what I want to be and what I want to achieve.
"RAMFEL are really doing a good job. They’re changing lives every day."