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‘I wish I could say it was worth it’

Wednesday, 12th February, 2020 4:58pm

A young African woman has said that she wishes she could erase the last five years she has spent in Direct Provision in Cork.

Mother of two, Noma, came to Ireland from Zimbabwe in 2015 when she was 27, leaving her two young children behind with her mother.

A victim of sexual violence linked with government corruption since the age of 13, Noma, now 32 years old, has been in Direct Provision in Ashbourne House in Glounthaune since her arrival, awaiting a decision on her application for asylum.

“Leaving was very hard. Leaving the kids behind and leaving everything. But it was something that I had to do,” Noma told the Cork Independent.

Speaking of her five years spent in Direct Provision, Noma said that she has had many ups and downs along the way. She also underlined the anguish of never knowing when she would have an answer from the government on her future.

Noma said: “There’s been happy and sad moments. I managed to make friends, but some of them had to move out when their applications were responded to.

“Basically you just wake up, you have your breakfast and you go back to your room and wait for lunch, and then you wait for dinner. There is nothing else to do. You are just waiting for the next letter to arrive.”

To pass the time and keep active Noma has taken part in a number of marathons, as well as enrolling in night classes in Cork College of Commerce, but because of her status, she is unable to work.

Noma’s story was broadcast on national television last night as part of TG4’s Tabú documentary series. During the filming of the episode, named ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’, she received a letter informing her that her application had not been accepted and that she would have to go back to Zimbabwe.

If she is forced to return to Zimbabwe, Noma said she is very afraid that what forced her to leave in the first place, might be waiting for her upon her return.

“At the moment I have run out of all options, I've tried everything. If I get some luck and end up staying here, I really hope to bring my kids here and watch them grow, because I have missed a big part of their lives.

“I wish that I could erase these last five years, but I know that is something I cannot do. I wish I could say it was all worth it,” she concluded.

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