Plea as asylum girl told to move home weeks before her exams

A YOUNG female asylum seeker is being forced to move from her Glasgow home of 10 years just weeks before she sits her final school exams.

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Tashi and her mother may be moved to a new home in the East End
Tashi and her mother may be moved to a new home in the East End

Tashi Tahir, 17, came to Scotland a decade ago with her mum Sharanee Bashir, 36, after being forced to flee their home country of Pakistan because Ms Bashir was a victim of domestic abuse.

Since then the mum and daughter have settled in Knightswood, in the west of the city, and Tashi has excelled at her school, St Thomas Aquinas.

But last Friday the family received a letter from housing provider Orchard and Shipman notifying them they had to move.

They were told to pack up all their belongings and be ready to move out by 9.30am tomorrow.

Tashi told the Evening Times the family had not been advised of where they were being moved - only that it was in the east of Glasgow.

The teenager is a carer for her mum, who suffers from mental health issues and post traumatic stress disorder - and she fears being uprooted will leave the family without support.

The bright pupil, who is getting ready to sit Higher exams in five subjects in May, has already received entry offers from universities including Glasgow, Strathclyde and St Andrews to study maths.

Tashi said: "I don't know how I'll find time to pack boxes, let alone move house with everything I'm doing at school.

"My mum isn't able to do a lot so it would be on me to get everything ready and move.

"My mum isn't sleeping and is barely eating because she's so worried. This is the last thing we need."

Tashi is appealing for help to stop the move.

She said: "Ideally we want to stay in our home. But if they have to move us then we are asking, why can't it be postponed until after my exams?"

The letter from the administration department at Orchard and Shipman states that the firm has "identified suitable alternate accommodation". It asks the family to pack up their belongings and ensure their current home is left "clean and tidy".

It continues: "Please ensure that you are ready by 9.30am, a member of our support team will accompany you and your family to your new accommodation.

"Orchard and Shipman will arrange transport for you and your family and also for your belongings."

The housing company is a sub-contracter of Serco.

Serco was appointed by the UK Border Agency as the prime contractor for the Compass (Commercial and Operational Managers Procuring Asylum Support Services) project in Scotland.

Robert Murray, young carers support worker for the Princess Royal Trust at the West Glasgow Carers Centre, has been supporting Tashi for several years.

He said the teenager helps her mum around the clock, providing emotional support, personal and domestic care.

Tashi is also responsible for her own care, including cooking, managing her stud-ies at school and homework.

Mr Murray said: "If Tashi has to move with her mum this will have a significant impact upon her final months at school.

"She has spent six years preparing for this moment and now she faces being moved away from her home and will not be able to effectively prepare for her final exams and assessments.

"She will even face the prospect of having to start a new school for only a few months or weeks. Tashi is clear that the on-going housing threat has worsened her mum's mental health and she is scared her mum will have to go into hospital."

Tashi is part of a befriending scheme in her local area which gives her some respite from her caring role.

The family is hopeful they will be granted refugee status in the near future.

After asking their local MP John Robertson to look into the issue on their behalf, he sent the family a letter dated March 14, saying Ms Bashir would be notified of a status decision from the Home Office in the next four weeks.

James Thorburn, Serco's Home Affairs Director said: "In managing accommodation for approaching 10,000 asylum seekers we often need to relocate individuals and families and this can happen at relatively short notice for reasons beyond our control.

"We make every effort to minimise disruption and to ensure continuity of access to important services such as healthcare and education.

"We would like to reassure the family that we understand their situation and are working hard to find them a suitable new property in the local area."

rachel.loxton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Families

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