Ibrahim is, without doubt, the happiest man in Manchester. After more than a year of waiting and worrying, he has finally been reunited with his wife and three young sons.
As they embraced at Manchester airport, they became the 1000th family to be reunited by the British Red Cross. Here Ibrahim shares their story.
I didn’t feel safe in Sudan, even inside my home. I was working for the UN’s peacekeeping mission. I constantly feared death, so I took the decision to leave.
I came by plane at the end of 2014 to seek asylum. Fortunately the government gave me refugee status five months after I arrived. I can stay for five years.
I moved to Manchester because there are many Sudanese communities, so I can adapt to life here. I applied for my family to come and I registered for Salford City College to improve my English and integrate.
I also registered with the job centre. I am a medical professional and I’ve had three or four interviews but it is hard to get a job.
I worked every day in Sudan after I graduated. I need to depend on myself. I need to work to set up my family here and maintain a normal life.
I didn’t see my son grow up
I was keeping in contact with my family by phone and email but they were very alone without me. I worried about their safety a lot.
When I called my family in Sudan and heard their voices it was very hard emotionally. My smallest child was only seven days old when I left them. It was extremely hard to be apart and not see my son grow up.
I was separated from my wife for a year and a month. I was so glad when they got a five-year visa.
Sudan is our home, we did not want to leave, but the situation got so bad.
The British Red Cross helped pay for travel costs so that we could be reunited. When they finally arrived at the airport, it was very emotional. It was really a moment that cannot be described. I felt very happy and excited. It was a special day for me.
I’m still excited. I worried so much about my wife and children and now I do not have to worry so much.
I hope they can integrate in the UK and get an education. We didn’t get that chance due to the war in our country. I want to arrange for my oldest child to go to school - he is almost five and a half.
There is peace here and they will be safe.
Homeless and afraid
I was living in a shared home. I told my landlord that my family was joining me, and in a few weeks we would find accommodation. He said it wasn’t allowed.
He told me to go to the council but my family arrived very late at the airport so the council was closed.
I was afraid. My family came over here thinking that they were going to see me and have somewhere to stay. But they got here and we were homeless.
The Red Cross were very helpful and paid for us to stay in a hotel for the night. We went to the council the next day and they referred me to a hostel. After two days they found me temporary accommodation with three rooms for us.
Made to feel welcome
The Red Cross have helped us to feel welcome and British people are very nice. They treat us with respect and without any discrimination. They have good values for acting in public, on transport and in queues. We hope to follow those values.
I have taken my family to Aldi and Tesco to see how the shopping is and they enjoyed it. There is a small park near our accommodation and I took them there to see how the parks here are.
I want to take them to the town centre - to everywhere.