Law Centres seek your help as they launch a crisis appeal

In August this year, the desperate situation in Afghanistan was unfolding before the world’s eyes, as US and British forces evacuated the country after a conflict that had lasted nearly 20 years.

Rajitha Kumar, an immigration solicitor at South West London Law Centres, represents a translator who worked with American and Allied forces in Afghanistan.

He came to Britain in 2016, claimed asylum and was granted refugee status in 2019. His family remained in Afghanistan.

At the beginning of this year, he applied for family reunion visas for his wife and teenaged son. The Home Office did not believe the relationship and refused the initial application.

Kumar lodged an appeal and obtained DNA evidence, but due to the additional time this took, the visas were not granted until August, only a few days before the deadline for evacuation.
As a result, her client’s wife and son were forced to flee to Pakistan.

They were badly treated on route, all their money and medication was stolen and the client’s wife who – like him – is disabled, ended up needing treatment in hospital. He sent all the money he had to them but that still wasn’t enough to cover their food, accommodation and hospital fees, not to mention the expense of their travel to London.

Great help: SWLLC’s Rajitha Kumar

Deeply concerned about their welfare, South West London Law Centres ran an urgent appeal for funds to help them. Due to some generous support from this and from a number of different funds, and at great personal financial cost, the family has now been reunited in Britain where they are slowly trying to rebuild their lives.

Speaking after the arrival of his wife and son, the client said, “I am very very pleased. I am thankful of god that they are here. Mrs Kumar helped me a lot. I really appreciate her help and her hard work from the bottom of my heart.

“It was very nice and kind of her and of the whole organisation.”

This case highlighted the need for the Law Centre to have funds available to give to clients when crisis strikes. As a result, they have launched a crisis fund.

The crisis may not be as newsworthy as an international regime change – for some clients, it may be not having the funds to pay for school uniform or to travel to an appointment with their caseworker. But it could be what makes the difference between being trapped in a precarious situation or being able to move on.

South West London Law Centres is appealing for donations to this crisis fund so they can help more clients when crisis strikes. Due to the generosity of National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund, every donation given before December 15 will be match-funded up to £250.

Could you help them help others? Please give what you are able at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/swllc-crisis-fund

Read more: Cuts to Council Tax Support: this is what you need to do

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