Atchyu is a 36 year old Tamil survivor who was brutally tortured in Sri Lanka. When he got to the UK, he knew he was safe, but he needed a lot of medical help for his injuries and he had no friends or family to support him. Worse, he had nowhere to live. Now, with our support, he is getting on with his life and hopes to be a chef one day.
*Update: Atchyu finally got refugee status! And is now able to rebuild his life properly!*
Blog by Atchyu
"In the beginning, I was on the verge of killing myself. I didn’t see a point in living. I was fed up with my life, but now I want to live, I want to be successful in life.
"When I was first referred to Freedom from Torture I was very traumatised. I received a letter to come here and I was thinking, how am I going to travel there? I didn’t know that when I came here I would get travel pay, so I borrowed money from my friend and I was thinking on my way home, how am I going to come next time? I had no money, how am I going to travel every week or every other week? Then I found out they give you money to travel.
"Because of my torture, I had some problems with my mouth and breathing difficulties. My Freedom from Torture clinician arranged the doctors so I could see a GP. If there was nobody to take me, he suggested he would. Don’t worry he said…
"I had to have surgery on my back as well, this also took place because of Freedom from Torture as they pushed my GPs to refer me to hospital. Some of my teeth were broken and the dentist was also arranged by Freedom from Torture. They’ve helped me a lot.
"Day to day, most of my routine now is exploring charity firms looking for food, going to temple, looking for food. These are my activities on a daily basis.
I am happy when I come here, I am like this because of the Tamil group and because of Freedom from Torture.
"Accommodation was difficult, I would spend one night in one place, another night in another place or friends’ houses. Then I got help from Red Cross so, I was also spending time in the Church. Maybe one month, one church, another month another place. There was no permanent address for me.
"I went through a very difficult time in the temporary accommodation.
"I have at last been given permanent accommodation now, which Freedom from Torture helped me find. There is an office and a school in the area where I go in the daytime to get food as well.
"I arrived in the UK in 2010, so it’s taken me 9 years to get permanent accommodation.
"When I get my status and I start to work, I definitely will help this organisation. Freedom from Torture has done so much for me. We created a Tamil recipe book last year. It helped me to realise that I would like to be a chef one day.
"I come to Freedom from Torture for Tamil group every two weeks. I get to meet my friends on a regular basis and it helps us to get up-to-date news about what is happening in Sri Lanka. Also, sometimes, we get legal support to come and talk to us so that we can speak about doubts, our case, options, anything, home office decisions. So that’s very helpful. I am happy when I come here, I am like this because of the Tamil group and because of Freedom from Torture.
"If I meet one of the supporters, maybe I wouldn’t have any words to express myself, I would be so thankful. I would say that I am alive because of you, I am thinking about my future because of you, that’s what I would say."