I'm 25 years old, originally from Lahore, Pakistan. My childhood was challenging as my parents split when I was young, making home life a bit of a struggle.

Growing up in Pakistan with separated parents was tough. The cultural rules from both my mum and dad meant I couldn't freely go out or dress the way I wanted. Unfortunately, my parents didn't really care much, and they rarely bothered to ask about my life.

My dad didn't support me and my sister because he remarried. In our home country, there's a preference for sons over daughters, and since he had a son from his second marriage, he pretty much gave up on us. So, he wasn't providing any support. On the flip side, to make things more difficult, my mum was involved in some questionable activities that I strongly disapproved of. She was pushing me into those activities, which made my situation worse.

With no other option, I had to leave and find another place. Luckily, my auntie (on my mum's side) lives in the UK and knew about the issues I had with my mum back home. In 2019, at 23, I requested refuge in the UK and moved in with my aunt. Navigating the asylum process was tough, but fortunately, I found assistance from Migrant Help. My adviser, Sylvie, provided lots of support, making things easier for me.

Life has improved significantly for me. Back home, my mum wouldn't allow me to attend university. Here in the UK, I was fortunate to receive a scholarship from the University of Winchester that enabled me to pursue and complete my BSc in computer science.

I'm really thankful to everyone at Migrant Help for helping me with the application, and the community in the UK who helped me to navigate the process.

Despite uncertainties, I've secured a role as a junior website developer, progressing towards my dream of becoming a full-stack developer.

Also, I am so happy that I received my refugee status. The impending asylum decision brought anxiety, but the UK's opportunities now overshadow the fear I felt.

In contrast to the judgment I faced before, now I feel accepted and supported. Organisations like Migrant Help aren't just doing good; they're saving lives. The open-mindedness in the UK has allowed me to achieve the life I had envisioned. 

[Note: Bahisa's real name has been changed to protect her identity.]