A gay man from Bangladesh
My name is Rahim and I am a gay man from Bangladesh. I was forced to flee my country and seek asylum in the UK after my family found me in a compromising position with another man. I was beaten and kept in a locked room for days. Eventually, I agreed to ‘change my ways’, so to speak, and marry. I went back to university in another city and promised to return for the engagement ceremony. My father reminded me that if I did not honour my promise, he would have me arrested or kill me. On completion of my studies I asked for help from a friend who knew about my sexuality, and he helped me to flee to the UK.
Arrival in the UK
Upon arrival in the UK, I started living with a friend of a friend who advised me to claim asylum. So, I did, and my claim was refused. That’s when my problems really started. My friend could no longer afford to support me. He had initially thought the asylum process would be complete within six months. Eight months later with a refusal and a pending appeal under my belt, he could no longer commit to supporting me for another few months. I moved to live with yet another friend of a friend. The following months were a struggle with homelessness, destitution and depression. I went from place to place, never feeling certain or secure.
Support from Micro Rainbow
A few months later, I was granted refugee status on appeal. I was ecstatic that I could begin living my life freely in the UK. But the first hurdle I encountered was opening a bank account, which I could not do without proof of address. Through Micro Rainbow, I received support and information on applying for a national insurance number and opening a bank account. Once they had been set up, I started looking for a job. With no UK work experience and employers at times failing to understand that I had the right to work, I faced further obstacles.
I continued to engage with Micro Rainbow throughout this process, and members of staff alerted me to an employment opportunity workshop with a retail company. This retail company is one of the largest clothing retailers in the world, and they have worked with Micro Rainbow to provide employment opportunities to LGBTI refugees. In addition to this support, they have previously donated winter coats to the Micro Rainbow clothing and food drop-in for LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees.
I attended the company’s presentation held at Micro Rainbow’s offices and expressed interest in applying for a job with them. I submitted my CV and was invited to an interview. After successfully completing the first round of interviews, I was invited to another interview with a local store manager and was eventually offered a job as a customer advisor.
The future looks bright
I am so happy and relieved to have been offered the job. I am now looking forward to working, supporting myself financially, and finally finding a place of my own to live and call home after more than a year of destitution and homelessness. I hold a bachelors’ degree in business and am hopeful that there will be opportunities for me to grow and advance my career. Thanks to support from Micro Rainbow, the future finally looks bright.