Graduate Story:

Mohaned Elnour

Mohaned is a lawyer from Sudan, who seeked asylum in the UK a few months before applying for Campaign Bootcamp. He came to learn more about campaigning for asylum seeker rights.

Before coming to the UK, I had been a human rights lawyer in Sudan. As soon I came to Newcastle, I joined Migration Asylum Justice Forum (MAJF). MAJF has organised rallies against immigration laws. We have protested against charter flight deportations, immigration detention, unlawful electronic tagging and immigration charges in healthcare. We are currently focused on issues in asylum housing where private companies like G4S and Jomast make profits from housing asylum seekers in overcrowded poor conditions.

As an asylum seeker, I went through a very difficult time. Asylum seekers are one of the most vulnerable groups. They are living is bad conditions, and most of them afraid to speak out as they think this may affect their asylum claims and lead to deportation. That is why I decided to apply for Bootcamp.

Even though the application process is clear and easy I was not sure I could do it by myself, so a colleague at MAJF helped me. When I received an invitation to be interviewed I thought I wouldn’t get this opportunity. As soon as I started talking to the friendly interviewers, I felt comfortable and all my fear was gone. I felt Bootcamp interviewers were fair and have a deep understanding of the situation of asylum seekers as well as human rights issues in general.

I was so glad to hear I got a place at Bootcamp and was very excited to start the training. All of the training was useful, but for me the most interesting workshop was the strategy workshop, where we learn about how to run a campaign in a strategic way. I have been doing trainings for a long time as a lawyer, but I found Bootcamp’s teaching style to be different – I think that the most important thing is the way that Bootcamp delivers the information for all different types of people. Of course! I did make good friends especially from my home group – we are in touch daily.

I believe asylum seekers and migrants should have the same rights as any other citizen and campaign to expose their treatment, demanding equality. Since Bootcamp, I have worked with the local council to try to get bedroom sharing banned in asylum accommodation and to improve accommodation conditions for women and children. We even went to a property tribunal – we are still fighting this because the new contracts for asylum accommodation are due to be finalised. We are also campaigning to get some scholarships for asylum seekers in more north east universities as only Middlesbrough currently offer spaces and many asylum seekers are blocked from studying in our region.

Last month I was granted refugee status and will carry on campaigning for those who can’t. There is no wrong in fighting for your rights and on behalf of others who can’t fight. That’s a message for everyone.

If you want to find out more about MAJF, you can here.

Mohaned Elnour

I am a human rights lawyer, I used to help the vulnerable groups in my home. Now I am an asylum seeker in the UK. In my experience over last few months, I believe asylum seekers are one of the most vulnerable groups in the UK. I want to speak out of behalf of many asylum seekers and migrants and defend their rights and dignity.