News The dreams that drive us: why refugees and asylum seekers leave home People leave home for all sorts of reasons: to stand on their own two feet, to go to university, to move in with their partner or friends, to move to the big city or to chase their dream job. People leave their countries for all sorts of reasons, too: to seek a change of climate, to study, to start a new career, to be with family and friends, or simply to have an adventure. Asylum seekers, on the other hand, leave their homes and their countries because they have no other choice. It would be wrong to think that the people seeking asylum in this country are here simply because they want a better life. While that is true, it's not the whole truth. Many migrants move to a new country to chase their dreams but, critically, asylum seekers are also fleeing the life behind them. Their lives, livelihoods, homes and families are at risk if they remain where they are. There are many reasons why asylum seekers flee their homes. None of them are pleasant. All of them are terrifying. Let’s look at just a few... Often, asylum seekers are fleeing persecution and human rights violations. They may be subjected to torture, wrongly imprisoned or under threat of the death penalty due to their religion, ethnicity, race, sexuality or even their political opinions. Other asylum seekers are displaced by armed conflicts and the impact of war on the world around them. They could be fleeing bombing and other dangers from their own government, from rebel forces or from other countries. It’s not only war that threatens to bring violence to people’s doorsteps; organised criminal groups also use violence to intimidate and exert control over innocent people. On some occasions, people are declared ‘stateless’ by their government. What this often means is that they can’t work, nor access education, healthcare or any other provision we consider a human right. They are forced out of their country if they want to do something as simple as earn money or see a doctor. Thought to be the cause of future waves of asylum seekers, climate change is altering people’s environments and making them less habitable. As if that weren’t enough, the predicted strain on resources is expected to create shortages, making it more difficult for people to survive and causing armed conflict. All asylum seekers share in a common dream – to reach a place of safety where they and their families can live in peace, free from fear and danger. These dreams drive them across the globe, and through unimaginable dangers. As they travel, they are at increased risk of terrifying criminal activity such as human trafficking and extortion by people smugglers, not to mention the dangers of travel itself which, as we sadly know all too well, includes drowning. The decision to leave home, with no idea where they will end up or how they will get there, is a decision that cannot be taken lightly. Every few seconds, this heart-breaking decision is forced upon another person – in the time it has taken you to read this blog, around 30 people will have made the decision to flee. It is, for so many, a life or death situation and so, with hope and strength that is thoroughly inspiring, asylum seekers picture their dreams of a new life and courageously tread the perilous road towards them. We, alongside many other organisations and individuals, are proud to play a small part in our clients’ journeys towards making these dreams a reality.