Saturday, 21 November 2009

A Child in Need - and you can help

I can't sleep. I can't sleep because I know Precious (pictured here) will be lying awake, staring out of the window at the barbed wire fences that surround the detention centre she's being held in, her stomach churning at the thought of being transported to Yarls Wood tomorrow.

She has had many nightmares since being taken there a couple of months ago. Children in Need is on TV right now. I want you to help this child. I want to be able to tell her that hundreds of people are trying to save her. You can do that by emailing the only man who can keep her safe now - Phil Woolas, the Labour MP who is Minister of State for Borders and Immigration. But first, let me share something with you.

Today when I sat with Precious I was trying to convince her that no matter what happens you have to hold onto your dreams and after a while she told me her dream is ('was' is the word she used) to be a writer. She gets a lot out of drawing and writing and after her last detention, she was encouraged to write about it.

Her mum doesn't want me to release the whole 4 page story in case it angers the Border Agency. I can't see how it could, the child does not criticise anyone, she simply talks about how she felt. But I'll just share a few extracts with you to let you know why she's dreading tomorrow and to convince you that emailing Phil Woolas is a good idea.

"Thursday 30th July. We went to sign (at the Borders Agency in Glasgow) and we never came back home. How I wish I couldn't go to sign on that very day. If I knew something was going to happen. After signing we were told to wait because someone wanted to talk to us. My heart started racing. I knew something was going to happen.

"We were taken to a room, when I entered the room I saw 5 or 6 giant men officers in blue jackets, black trousers and white shirts.

"My whole body was numb, that's how I felt. A woman came in reading a pile of papers. 'Your case has been dismissed, today you're being detained' she said.

"I couldn't even listen to her and I felt as if I was lost. I started screaming 'please I don't want to go'. My mum too was screaming.

"I couldn't stop thinking about my best friend ever Maria, I was going to miss her forever. I was so excited to go back to school and start primary 6 as the summer holiday was about to finish. I felt very upset for being disturbed from school because I knew I wouldn't be able to fulfill my dreams.

"How I wish I could go to high school then go to Cambridge or Oxford University. That's what I always dream about. I wished that I could change my mum's life after school.

"I started praying in my heart 'Please God, help me'."

Precious said very little today, she mainly just sat beside me and stared up at me, her beautiful big eyes open wide like she was searching my face to figure out if there was any chance I was actually going to be able to help her. In fact, now that I think about it, her eyes didn't leave my face once. I don't think I've ever felt such an overwhelming sense of responsibility and hopelessness at the same time. To have this little mite gaze up at me with that look in her eyes forced me to ask so many questions of myself. I'll save thinking up answers however, till I've exhausted all possibilities for her.

If you believe Precious and her mum should be allowed to stay here please email Phil Woolas and ask him to use his discretion and stop the deportation. Florence's preference is that emails are respectful and I said I'd pass that on. His email address is Their names are Florence and Precious Mhango.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you don't mind Indygal,
    I posted a small notice of the plight of Florence and Precious (their beautiful names alone should qualify them for inclusion into our community) to -
    Indygal blog - A Mother and Child in Need
    media lens messege board
    21 Nov 2009

    How appropriate there is a bit of a 'Tempest' brewing round Dungavel at the moment.

    What a life these two must be getting subjected to - beyond imagining and utterly barbaric.

    all the best to them and everybody's efforts to help and save them!

    Media Lens is well recognised as an excellent source of corporate media analysis and its board lively and well visited.