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Hina’s Story

IMIX recently picked up our ‘I am skillful, I am talented’ project and produced a feature. You can view the piece on their ‘Human Journeys’ Instagram account here or read the full text below:

‘I have seen enough sadness in my life. Now I want to capture happiness.’

Hina was forced to flee from her home in Pakistan to escape a forced marriage and the threat of honour killing by family members who thought she brought dishonour upon the family. She sought refuge in the UK and is now hopeful for the future after living in immigration limbo for over a decade.

She said:
‘I ran from a forced marriage in 2011. I arrived in the UK to claim asylum and I was detained at an Immigration Detention Centre for four weeks. This was the darkest part of my life. Sometimes I still hear the footsteps of the guards, and the shouting and cries of the women they’d take away. There is so much trauma when you are punished for just asking for safety.’

After being released from detention, Hina found herself in an abusive relationship and a long battle with the Home Office to stay in the UK.

‘I became pregnant and left the relationship. I ended up being a survivor of modern-day slavery. It was a constant fight with the home office begging them to hear me and not deport me. It felt like there was a knife hanging on my throat all the time. I thought “What’s going to happen to my daughter and her future?”

‘I was young, educated and talented. I had so much to give. I felt like a bird in a cage. After a decade of fighting with the Home Office, I lost the will to hope.’ She said.

When she finally received refugee status Hina had to rebuild her confidence and find hope again. She found this through the @calderdalevos ‘I am Skillful, I am talented’ photography and film project:

‘It’s very difficult for me but bit by bit, piece by piece, I am bringing colours back to the canvas of my life which had been taken away. The project was the first step towards hopefulness and learning skills in a kind environment. I see photography as a profession now. I have seen enough sadness in my life. Now I want to capture happiness. I want to capture memories and connect people through smiles.’