The devastating impact of poverty
Freedom from torture relies on donations from generous individuals to help survivors of torture. We can't do it without your help. Please support us today.
An appeal to you
This Freedom from Torture appeal raises funds for our ongoing clinical work with torture survivors. Thank you for your support.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our appeal on poverty. We have raised over £80,615 to fund our work with survivors of torture living in chronic poverty. Please consider making a donation to help us support even more survivors of torture. Thank you.
Supporters will have read our recent postal appeal which highlighted some of the difficulties that our clients experience through living in extreme financial hardship. Many survivors of torture who we work with have so little money that they regularly go without food and do not have warm clothes to last the winter. This situation can leave survivors of torture feeling powerless and acts as a barrier to their rehabilitation.
If you are not currently a Freedom from Torture supporter, we would really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to read our appeal letter from Senior Counsellor Funda Kansu where she explains in more detail.
Dear Supporter, My team and I see evidence every day of the devastating impact that living in extreme poverty can have on our clients' recovery. Many have so little money that they regularly go without food, choosing instead to feed and clothe their children. Our valued supporters already know how vital our work is but may not know about the shocking living conditions that our clients have to struggle with each day. Survivors of torture, who have already suffered so much, shouldn't have to live like this. At the end of 2011 we embarked on a major research study looking into the impact of poverty and destitution on torture survivors, to show in detail just how serious the issue has become for our clients. The results of this survey will be published later in the year. The findings are truly shocking.
Poverty adds insult to injury
Coming to terms with a new life in exile is difficult enough for our clients, even before being forced to cope with extreme financial hardship. The widespread destitution and chronic poverty experienced by survivors of torture each and every day seriously impedes their ability to recover. While seeking asylum, most torture survivors are expected to live on just £5 a day. This is well below the poverty line, yet it has to cover essential food and clothing, basic sanitary items and travel costs to carry out crucial daily tasks or attend appointments with their doctor or a lawyer.
Recovery can't wait
Many of our clients are so deeply traumatised that they require intensive therapy over long periods of time to help them recover from their harrowing ordeals. If survivors are hungry, cold, have no place to stay, or can't travel to their counselling sessions, they may never be free from their tormentors. Isolated and lonely in a strange country, and without the money to do anything other than just scrape by, survivors often report feeling powerless to help themselves while their asylum claim is processed. These feelings are often magnified by cultural differences and language barriers, and we regularly see clients who are severely depressed and – in some cases – suicidal.
We can help, but we need your support
We work tirelessly to make sure our clients are in a position to benefit from our therapies. In exceptional circumstances we can offer a small one-off cash payment to alleviate their immediate needs, but with over 25 years experience, we know that this isn't the long-term answer. We offer a wide range of support to benefit the most vulnerable, not just counselling. For example, we also provide extensive legal advice, liaise with local authorities and other agencies, make phone calls, write letters, and advocate on our clients' behalf. In addition, we will continue to put pressure on the Government to improve basic levels of support for survivors of torture. We have already been influential in the Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency's decision to conduct an independent inquiry into the asylum support system and we will continue to work with his team to ensure that our evidence, and the experiences of our clients, are clearly heard. It is only by making sure survivors have some stability in their lives, be it a safe place to live, or no fear about where their next meal is coming from, that the healing process can really begin. And for that we desperately need your help. With a gift of £20 today we can continue to do everything in our power to make sure survivors of torture can access our vital services across the UK. We need to make sure that, after all they have been through, our doors are open for our clients when they reach us. Together we can make sure they receive the specialist care they need so they can begin to rebuild their shattered lives. Yours sincerely Funda Kansu Senior Counsellor and Team Leader Freedom from Torture PS: By making a donation today we can continue to help survivors of torture on their journey to rehabilitation.