Sam's story. Seeking asylum: my lockdown diary.

“Lockdown, self-isolation, social distancing, quarantine are possibly the worst words a person like myself could hear.  I spend every day volunteering with various charities so that I can have a sense of purpose but also so that I can escape my reality as an asylum seeker who is not allowed to work living on £5.39 pence a day. I live in dilapidated temporary accommodation, watching strangers come and go, living in uncertainty waiting for someone to make a decision on  whether I can move forward with my life, to work, to earn an income to be part of and engage in society. Self-isolation is my worst nightmare.  

We are living in strange times; a time of crisis and it would be so easy and simple to just drown in my own thoughts and disappear into depression. They say Isaac Newton came up with the theory of gravity whilst working from home in self isolation during a time of plague. I sometimes sit in my room day-dreaming of what theory or invention I could come up with.  

But In this time of crisis I choose to be kind to myself to remain calm and positive. I choose to heal,  I choose my wellbeing, I choose my personal growth and development- to be creative, to paint, to write, to learn and to campaign on causes that I am passionate about. Checking in on my friends, learning new recipes, skills, taking time to self–care, to exercising, meditate or even just putting a home-made face mask on. I choose a better ME. We are part of history; how will you spend your time? What do you choose?  

I spend my self- isolated days volunteering to help others and to campaign, through art, on causes such as LiftTheBan - Giving people like myself the right to work. At a time of crisis that now more than ever we need people to support our NHS and key workers. Asylum seekers who are skilled and qualified like myself are not allowed to work and are forced to live in poverty or end up homeless.  I have found purpose by volunteering with the advice service helping with general enquires, supporting charities as an Expert by Experience and sharing on issues that affect asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. What causes are you passionate about? How can you help others? How will you spend your self-isolated days? 

Seeing how organizations such as Coventry Independent Advice Service, Refugee Action, NACCOM and Crisis Skylight and other charities have come together to support its members, how our communities and Individuals have come together to support each other. It has given me so much hope and I know that together we will beat this. Stay Calm, stay positive and stay safe.”

Crisis Volunteer and Member 

By sharing stories we can change attitudes and build a movement for permanent, positive change. Stand against homelessness and help us end it for good.