Mariam Yusuf’s Reflections on The Past Two Years

Mariam Yusuf is an asylum seeker who arrived from war-torn Somalia in 2008. Somalia has been a country riven with conflict for decades and the country topped the annual Fragile States Index from 2008 up to and including 2013. In the light of this well-known situation Mariam never thought she would not be believed but, faced with demands for documents she hadn’t got, she was refused asylum and was unable to bring her children to safety. She has been in limbo ever since.

This International Women’s Day she launched a website for asylum seekers to tell their stories and published this overview of the difficulties of asylum seekers like herself.

March 7, 2022

These last two years have been challenging.  One category of people had a particularly tough time.

People with limited resources, people with no place to call home.

People forced to choose between clothing, food, and toiletries – necessities, I should say – felt like luxuries.

Before Covid invaded, the situation of surviving was bad: one could barely imagine how this group of people managed through the pandemic.   They are people seeking asylum, living with restrictions – not allowed to work, with limited access to higher education, some of them are destitute with literally nothing. It’s not news anymore, it’s almost becoming a norm.

Now I want to think outside the box, an expression I have come to learn.  Instead, I am thinking inside the box.  I feel like I am moving forwards never, backward sometimes, stagnant almost, that is my box, and probably other people seeking asylum share the same sentiments.

I ended the year 2021 on a high.  I got excited to have had the opportunity to create a website that would give me and others a platform to express ourselves.  Big step – I call it an open diary to have a conversation with someone. 

Sometimes I feel I am walking on a long road that does not seem to have a destination. I have this idea in my head of where I am going to, I get mixed feelings wanting to stop as it feels I am heading nowhere.  Emotionally and mentally drained, I want to give up.  There is an imaginary brick wall that stops me all the time I make progress.

My mind tells me that something needs to change.  What should I do to make this happen? Am I not doing enough or just not doing it right?  This is not the answer I am looking for.  Could this be the reason why I feel there is this long road?  This is just my mind running wild and I feel that whatever I am involved with seems unachievable.  Some people may have felt the same way.  

January has come and gone quickly.  February – it is a month of love, I received and shared love with the most amazing people who have impacted my life in a very positive way.  We need to spread that love throughout the year and forever really.

We are in March, yeah, time to celebrate women again. International Women’s Day.  I want to celebrate me;  with my achievements, this has empowered me to reach for the sky. It will not be an easy ride. With support from others, together we can make a better environment for everyone to thrive…


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