The aim of this paper is to relate in brief the story of my life as a refugee in Ireland. It will focus on my reasons for leaving Zimbabwe, my home country, and some general reasons why people find themselves in a position where they should make the very crucial decision to either continue to live in their own country and deal with whatever hardship or persecution, give up and stare death in the face, or move to another place and contend with the challenges of trying to fit in and survive. Writing from a personal point of view, these challenges will obviously be based on my own experiences, which in my opinion reflect to a reasonable extent the experiences of most refugees, while at the same time not assuming that there are no exceptions. The challenges will include my life as an asylum seeker in direct provision (accommodation centres designated for people seeking asylum), as a single mother away from the support of family and friends, and as a refugee trying to start a new life in a foreign country. Another aim of this document is to clarify the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee, terms that to some people very often have the same meaning. The paper will also give a brief overview of the general treatment of refugees worldwide not only in Ireland or the western world. Finally, I wish to use this article to give words of encouragement to all the displaced persons of this world who may get a chance to read this article, to help them realise that it is possible to have a “home away from home” and to rise above the dehumanising experiences of being a refugee. It is my heartfelt wish, too, to extend my humble gratitude through this article to different statutory and voluntary organisations and people who have devoted their lives to the worthy cause of helping asylum seekers and refugees in this country and indeed in other parts of the world.
Source: Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies, Volume 7, Issue 2 Asylum and Social Service Responses, Winter, 2006