Patricia's story

Berthe Patricia Nganga

Berthe Patricia Nganga, 44, fled war-torn Congo Brazzaville in 2003 after her family were targeted and killed for their political beliefs. She was granted leave to remain in the UK in August 2011. 

She is a member of the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group, which is supported by Scottish Refugee Council.

'You know, being an asylum seeker is not an easy life.  I was a paediatric nurse in Congo Brazzaville, working in the local hospital and in my mother’s chemist. She was killed by the government because she didn’t support them. Then in 1998, my husband fled the country, because he was part of the opposition party too.

‘In 2003 I fled. People were after me because of my husband, so I had to get away. But the Home Office didn’t believe me. It’s so frustrating; as an asylum seeker you’re not allowed to work, you’re not allowed
to do full-time courses... it can make you crazy.

‘After spending my first few years in the UK in and out of detention, I came to Glasgow.  I came here to the Scottish Refugee Council and they did everything to give me support, and two and a half years ago I became part of the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group.

‘The group helps women get information and advice about everything to do with asylum. It gives you strength.

‘We have changed things, too. Now women seeking asylum in Scotland can ask for childcare when they are interviewed at the Home Office; that’s because we wrote a letter asking for that change.

‘Now I’m free from the Home Office, but I want to continue being part of the Strategy Group to help other people. They helped me see that I’m not the only one.’

Tags: , ,