As we journey through Lent, we invite you to join us in accompanying refugees. Today we hear from a volunteer. Where do you sense the Lord’s compassion in her story?
Sr. Linda’s Story
Today we introduce Sr. Linda who is one of our detention outreach volunteers. One of the centres she visits is the Sahara Unit, a holding facility for women at the Heathrow IRC.
Being held for an indefinite amount of time, separated from family and friends is a terrible reality for so many people held in Immigration Removal Centres. This is all the more difficult for those who speak little to no English. In accompanying those in detention, Sr. Linda sees first-hand the challenges faced by these individuals: “most cannot speak English… Me as a migrant here, English is also not my first language so I can relate to them who cannot speak English very well. So it is very challenging.”
JRS seeks to reduce the sense of isolation that indefinite detention generates by providing pastoral care to those held in detention, allowing detainees to voice their worries and concerns through the creation of meaningful human relationships. In contrast with the rest of the Heathrow IRCs, however, the Sahara Unit is only intended for short term holdings, making it difficult for those held there to form relationships with visitors and with other detainees.
Sr. Linda started visiting the Sahara Unit as she noticed that it was part of the Heathrow IRC that had become forgotten: “I decided to visit the Sahara Unit because it is the most neglected area. Nobody is visiting, nobody goes there except the solicitors.”
Our detention outreach work, as well as the other services we provide, rely on the generous support of a network of individuals, parishes and communities. We are ever thankful to those who donate to JRS UK and allow us to continue our work to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced people.
Today we invite you to consider becoming a regular donor to JRS UK. Your donation will assist our work, as we continue to accompany and encourage those destitute refugees we serve in London.