Hello, I’m Anamika from Sri Lanka and I was recognized UNHCR refugee last year. I was 17 years old when I came to Hong Kong. I was in the detention for 15 days, then I was brought to the ISS shelter for minors in Yuen Long. At that time there were 4 Somalian girls,1 Somalian boy, 2 Sri Lankan boys, 1 Kashmiri boy and 1 disabled old man from Taiwan. The flat consist of 4 rooms: 1 room for the staff , 1 for the girls & remaining 2 for boys. 4person can sleep in each room. One of those rooms was occupied by those 4 boys who were living there for almost a year, in the last room there was only one person, it was that Taiwanese old man. The ISS staff told me to share the bed with the other Somalian boy for some days until others would leave the shelter soon; because they said that Taiwan man don’t want to share the room with Blacks. The bed was big enough for only one person to sleep… so I managed to sleep on the sofa for almost a month.
During that time I came to know that I could apply for school. I asked ISS to help me for apply but they just gave me the address of the education bureau (EDB) and asked me to go myself. I applied there & after some days I received a letter from the EDB that they granted permission for me to study in HK. Then I asked ISS to help me to find a school but they didn’t helped me for a long time then somehow with the help of others I got a placement in 1 school in Tsuen wan. After a long struggle I got a chance to go school, the first term examination got over & the teacher gave me the progress report & asked me to get signature from parent or guardian. I said I don’t have anyone but they didn’t listen to me at all. I came to the shelter & asked the ISS staff. She said she can’t sign for me. She told me to ask my case worker in ISS. Then the next day I asked my case worker but she also refused to sign for me. I went back to school & I met my school Headmistress & told her my situation then she accepted my reasons.
As months passed I turned 18. The ISS asked me to leave the shelter as I became a major so I can’t stay there anymore. They gave me 3 month deadline. I told them I don’t know anyone here to help me to find a house, then they said they’ll let me know if they find any & they asked me try by myself as well. One day my case worker called me and told me that there is a room available near Long Ping. She asked me come with her to see it. I went with her to visit that place, but that room was not as good as I expected but I thought something is better than nothing so I said that I like it. Then the land lord asked me to pay $2000 as a deposit so I could move in. I asked my case worker, she said she can’t do anything with it, the same day she brought me to visit three more rooms. For all those rooms the landlords were demanding deposit. the response from the ISS is always “NO!!!” Still now I’m looking for a room to move from the ISS shelter. Now Vision First told me that they could help me in solving this issue. So for now I don’t have anymore strength to walk around to find a room, just I’m waiting with the hope in my heart that I can find a place for me soon…
Note: In July 2011, Vision First secured a clean and safe home for two more families with small children – taking our mini-shelter list to 24!