In the podcasts, refugees who’ve escaped persecution in Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Iran and found safety and friendship in the UK tell their gripping real-life tales.
The recordings tell the stories of six refugees who have settled in Manchester, Salford and Oldham and begun to re-build their lives, and were aired widely during Refugee Week, including on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour.
From a sales assistant who fled the Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe, to a young student who escaped homophobic honour-killing in Iran, these eye-opening accounts highlight the risks people take to find safety and the challenges they face in the UK.
In each recording the refugee is joined by somebody who has welcomed them to the local community.
These podcasts are brought to you by Regional Asylum Activism Project, in partnership with BBC Outreach, to mark Refugee Week 2015.
Click here to listen to the podcasts, and see below for more information on each story.
Mavis and Vicky
Mavis fled persecution in Zimbabwe and hoped to find safety with her daughter in the UK. When her case for asylum was turned down she was sent to Yarl’s Wood detention centre. On her release, she came to Manchester and found a home from home at Women Asylum Seekers Together, where Vicky volunteers.
Speakers: Mavis (from Zimbabwe) and Vicky (friend, from Women Asylum Seekers Together, Manchester). Credits: Jake Lloyd for BBC Outreach.
Mahya and Happy
Mahya is a lesbian who fled the threat of honour-killing at the hands of her family in Iran. Now a proud member of Manchester’s LGBT community, she discusses her plight with Happy, a fellow Lesbian asylum seeker from Uganda who has also found safety and acceptance in Manchester.
Speakers: Mahya (from Iran) and Happy (friend, from Uganda). Credits: Ena Miller for BBC Outreach.
Rudo and Ros
Rudo was forced to flee Zimbabwe by the ZANU-PF, leaving behind her four young children. Not knowing anything about the asylum process in the UK she was exploited as a domestic slave before eventually meeting somebody who helped her claim asylum.
Speakers: Rudo (from Zimbabwe) and Ros (friend, from The Boaz Trust, Manchester). Credits: Kathryn Blennerhassett for BBC Outreach.
Wilson and Phil
Wilson has made Salford his home since escaping the violence in Burundi in 2002. Wanting to help refugees fleeing similar conflicts, he founded Salford Forum for Refugees with the help of local veteran volunteer, Phil.
Speakers: Wilson (from Burundi) and Phil (friend, from Salford Forum for Refugees, Salford). Credits: Jake Lloyd for BBC Outreach.
Mrs Ibrahim and Anna
Mrs Ibrahim fled to Kenya to escape the war in Somalia before coming to the UK. Despite facing an uncertain future in this country, Mrs Ibrahim volunteers with Anna to educate the public about why people seek safety. Her activism earned her a Manchester International Women’s Day Award earlier this year.
Speakers: Mrs Ibrahim and Anna (friend, from Revive, Manchester). Credits: Flavia Di Consiglio for BBC Outreach.
Marzia and Chris
Marzia was a barrister, and later a judge, in Afghanistan until the Taliban forced her to flee the country. She has lived in Oldham for six years and is determined to improve her English with the help of friend, Chris, so she can share her skills and experience with the community.
Speakers: Marzia (from Afghanistan) and Chris (friend, from Oldham). Credits: Ena Miller for BBC Outreach.