Reflections of an asylum seeker on World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty

Posted On: 17 October 2013

Out of sight out of mind

I arrived on the shores of Ireland a couple years ago with a hope to a meaningful life seeking protection, relieved that I was far away and safe from the regime in Zimbabwe that had deprived me of my basic human rights and kept me in constant fear for years. Little did I know I will find myself at the receiving end again but in a different environment?

My family has lived in direct provision for over 8 years I have experienced like any Irish parent the shame of having to tell my 8 year old daughter I do not have 1euro for breakfast club. Marking important occasions such as birthdays has become a luxury I have foregone.  Bear in mind I am not asking for handouts from the state but all I seek is a dignified life with a hope to be allowed to provide for my family and to be afforded the opportunity to contribute to society.

I am here representing such a group of people living at the peripherals of our societies, a people who have been forgotten or at least have not seemed relevant to the average citizen.  The asylum seekers and their children living in direct provision for lengthy periods of time. Having no access to education and employment, we barely exist on an allowance of 19.10 for an adult a week and 9.60 for a child a week.  This has been allowed to continue despite the numerous studies in the area, which have proved that the people in the asylum process are living in abject poverty as a result of” state sanctioned poverty and social exclusion”.

Like all the other people facing discrimination of some sort or living in poverty in any part of the world, asylum seekers are a vulnerable group of people who heavily rely on your solidarity.

How can we help asylum seekers in direct provision?

I would like to call on us all to join those who have come out to call for the end of direct provision and for the government to sign up to the E.U minimum standards directive for the reception of asylum seekers.