Refugee mum ‘turned away’ by council offering to take her newborn into care
The homeless young refugee mum who has just given birth and been refused a home by council officials in London’s East End has spoken of her escape from the Somali war zone.
Khadro Diriye, 27, turned up at Tower Hamlets council’s homeless unit in Bethnal Green two days after her baby boy was born at the Royal London Hospital.
The destitute asylum-seeker, who has been granted legal right to stay in Britain, was told her baby can be taken into care.
But she would have to go because she had ‘no connection with the East End’—even though she has relatives in Whitechapel.
She was put up temporarily at the Shuttleworth hostel in South Hackney, but was told today she would have to leave.
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“I was terrified—I came to Britain for safety and to protect my unborn child,” she told the East London Advertiser. “But now they want to take my baby away. The hardship here is greater than I imagined.”
Khadro lived in a large house in Mogadisho—but was in constant danger from gunfire and feared for her unborn child.
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Speaking through an interpreter, she recalled: “There were bullets flying every day in my neighbourhood.
“My life was bad—I could never sleep. I had fear all the time that I could get shot and had to get away.”
Khandro arrived in Britain in October, separated from her husband who is now in Kenya, and was sent by the Home Office to an immigration hostel in Leeds for two weeks before being moved to another in Bradford.
She obtained legal status to remain in the UK, but had to leave and made her way to East London. The baby was born at the Royal London on Sunday.
Her case has been taken up by the Tower Hamlets’ Somali integration centre, whose co-ordinator Safia Jama said: “Khadro was told she should go back to Bradford where she has been staying.
“They told her the council has a responsibility for the baby under the Child Protection Act—but not for her. They told her she had to go.”
Her cousin Sadiya Isak can’t put her up because she’s overcrowded in her one-bedroom flatlet in Commercial Road with her husband, nine-year-old daughter and 75-year-old mother-in-law.
She said: “I cried for her when she came out of the hospital with the baby. But I can’t put them up—we’re all in one bedroom.”
Khadro is now in touch with a firm of solicitors in Aldgate who have taken up her case.