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ABDI

Country of origin | Somalia
Arrived in the UK | 2008

Abdi is a man of great resilience, having lived through many unique and challenging circumstances. Over his life time, he has travelled vast journeys in refuge of a place to call ‘home’.

Abdi, who is of Somalian descent, originates from Garbahare, which is a region in Southern Somalia, and the capital of Gebo.

In January 1991 at the height of the Somalian Civil War, customary law had collapsed within the country and South-Somalian armed factions began competing for influence in the power vacuum that existed, and, inevitably, turmoil ensued. The constant threat of danger for a young man like Abdi in the late 20th century would have been a clear enough reason to begin moving.

BIOGRAPHY

Abdi’s story of refuge began in January 1991, moving to Kenya at first and then to Germany. Not understanding a word of the German language at the time, and trying his best to integrate into a society that was still finding its own feet after the fall of the Berlin Wall only a matter of years earlier, Abdi clearly found a burning desire to seek a better life for himself. Abdi also did his upmost to reconnect with his dispersed family members, and whilst doing so, he moved to the Netherlands in 1992 where he began studying, eventually graduating from the University of Eindoven in the field of Engineering.

It was not until 2008 that Abdi moved to the UK, with the career he had built during his time living in the Netherlands, eventually settling within Milton Keynes, where he now lives happily with his wife and children.

 
 
 

 
 
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Isaam

Country of origin | Afghanistan
Arrived in the UK | 2014

Isaam is a 19 year old man, living in an undetermined circumstance within Milton Keynes, UK.

Isaam was born in the Province of Nangarhar in Eastern Afghanistan at a time of extreme social and political turbulance, one year before the US War in Afghanistan began.

Due to the constant threat to his well-being and livelihood, and with the support and encouragement of his family, a young Isaam was faced with the hugely challenging decision to escape from home and seek a safer life.

For safety, Isaam’s real identity has remained anonymous.

BIOGRAPHY

Prior to escaping Afghanistan, along with other harrowing stories shared, Isaam told us of how he was kidnapped as a teenager by the Taliban whilst taking his family’s sheep to fresh pastures alongside his friend. Eventually, with the help of the military forces, Isaam was able to escape capture and return to his home village, however, this event marked only one of many more traumatic events of that time.

Isaam has had approximately 17 different social workers since arriving in the U.K four years ago. He has been unable to secure a safe and stable place to call home and therefore faces an extremely uncertain and unpredictable future. At the time of meeting Isaam, he informed us that he had less than one month to remain within the U.K and would soon be forced to return to his country of origin, where his safety is in under constant threat.

 
 
 

 
 
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Halimeh

Country of origin | Iran
Arrived in the UK | 1986

Hali is a British Citizen from Iranian descent, living happily in Milton Keynes, within the UK.

A kind, considerate and passionate woman, Hali moved to England just before her 21st Birthday, having been forced to leave home several years earlier after a series of life altering events she was faced with.

In 1979, at the start of the Iranian Revolution, Hali was just 13 years of age. Living in a remote area of Southern Iran, from the very beginning, Hali became active in her pursuit to fighting injustice.

BIOGRAPHY

Hali comes from a politically-minded family, having experienced first-hand the harsh realities of the previous Shah regime, as two of her brothers were detained as political prisoners during that administration.

Hali recalls the invasion of her family’s home at the age of only 8 years old, during a raid by the Secret Service. She described how she remembers her younger self following the suited men from room to room, searching their personal belongings and invading their privacy.

Hali was arrested as a young teenager, but that did not deter her and her peers from becoming more dedicated in increasing their knowledge and understanding on equality and human rights; becoming increasingly more active as the years went on. This display of activism and resilience, paired with her family’s already established reputation, led to her father selling their home and in her own words becoming “refugees in their own country.”

Hali obtained her degree whilst raising two young children, and now owns her own company.

 
 
 

 
 
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AYSER

Country of origin | Iraq
Arrived in the UK | 1999

Ayser is a British Citizen and the first born of her siblings. Originally from Iraqi descent, she is now living a comfortable and settled life in Milton Keynes, UK.

A generous and community focused woman at heart, a caring wife and an inspirational mother to two wonderful daughters, Ayser spent a large portion of her early life living in Baghdad, Iraq, during the latter part of the 20th Century. She eventually moved to the UK in 1999 after a brief period in Jordan, Western Asia in order to seek a better life for herself and her children.

Ayser has a BSC in Architectural Engineering and spent the first part of her career working in Iraq within her chosen field of Architecture.

BIOGRAPHY

Borderline provided a unique opportunity to gain a small insight into the life of Ayser, to share her journey and to help understand some of the challenges she has faced throughout her life. Ayser actively encourages other individuals to get involved with some of the community projects she now organises within the Buckinghamshire region.

Whilst meeting with Ayser, we were fortunate to be invited along to Iftar (also known as Fatoor in English) to document the ‘breaking of fast’. A historic evening ritual during Ramadan that brings the community, groups or families together after abstaining from food and drink from dawn (Fajr) to dusk (Maghrib). The Iftar event was a wonderful opportunity to share homemade food and drinks together and exchange great conversation and play games. Project Borderline provides an insight into Ayser’s working life, her home and also sensitive moments with friends and family.

 
 
 

 
 
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DUAA

Country of origin | Syria
Arrived in the UK | 2018

Duaa is a 24 year old woman, originally from Syria. She arrived in the UK at the end of 2018 after briefly living in Amman, Jordan from 2013, with her three young children (two born within Jordan), her husband, brother-in-law and children’s grandparents.

Duaa arrived in Amman with her family after fleeing the conflict within her home City of Damascus, Syria’s capital and largest city.

During the months leading up to Duaa leaving Syria with her young family: “Syrian forces showed the regime’s willingness to unleash such firepower in the capital: At least three tank shells slammed into residential areas in the central Damascus neighborhood of Qaboun, an activist said. Intense exchanges of assault- rifle fire marked the clash, according to residents” [view source]

BIOGRAPHY

Duaa and her family seeked the support of the United Nations on arriving in Jordan, unable to work or find sufficient education for their first son. Duaa describes her life in Jordan as a very sad time and that her children’s Grandmother, Grandfather and Uncle are still residing within Amman.

After arriving in the UK, Duaa and her family have found a somewhat stable place to call home within Milton Keynes.

Whilst with Duaa, we were invited into her family home and met with her three young children, the two youngest would smile from ear to ear as we began setting up for filming, occassionaly pausing to ask questions and giggle at the unusual-looking equipment.

Together we shared a short and slightly broken conversation whilst her eldest son bravely stood at our side to assist with any interpreting.

 
 
 

 
 
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AYDIN

Country of origin | United Kingdom
Arrived in the UK | Since birth

Aydin is a British man living in Milton Keynes, UK, the second child to Hali and her husband. He is a student of Law, focussing predominantly on the field of Immigration.

Aydin provides a unique perspective into the life of a man from both Iranian descent, as well as growing up as a first generation UK Citizen, living his entire life within England and embracing the British culture as his own. Learning throughout his childhood and early adulthood of the stories of his parents struggles prior to his birth, Aydin is a thoughtful and considerate young man with great aspirations for the future.

BIOGRAPHY

An inquisitive person, with a clear passion for human rights, having heard about the Borderline Project from his mother, Aydin was very active in participating and supporting the project from the very beginning. Having learnt of the immense struggles of Isaam, one of the other participants, Aydin jumped at the opportunity to offer his skills and expertise in supporting with his case for asylum.

We sat with Aydin at his local pub and he kindly shared with us some of the stories that he had learnt of his family’s origins, as well as a deeper insight into the Revolution within Iran in the late 1970’s and the memories he recalled from his childhood visits. This moment of sharing gave us a greater understanding of the frequent struggles his family went through in the 20th century and served as a gentle reminder of how fortunate some of us are to have never experienced such levels of hardship.