What a journey!
Since last winter we have been trying to get a large family of Syrians Kurds here to safety in Lauzerte. Since their home and business in Aleppo was destroyed, this lovely family has been has been struggling to survive. The only possession they had left was a car that they had to sell to be able to eat while the city was under siege. They eventually managed to get into Turkey where the father and sons have been doing menial jobs, underpaid with very long hours, in order to survive and pay their way out. No help is given by the Turkish government. Knowing there was no future for them in Turkey, and wanting to stay together, they decided to try for a visa to come to France to apply for asylum. To make this possible we provided the necessary address for their lodging. Their hope is to be able to start living again normal lives, the young people of the family are all educated and long to use their skills. The baby, just 6 moths old has the right to grow up in decent conditions and live a normal child’s life.
The wonderful news came eventually on July 7th., that the French embassy had granted them all visas. But their bad luck was not over. They were told that they had to wait for a phone call in the next few days to pick them up and at the same time they were told that they would have to leave within 15 days. So they booked and paid for their flights Istanbul-Paris for Wednesday 19/7 with the money they had saved. On Tuesday 18/7 in the evening there had still been no word from the consulat, no answer to their phone calls, or emails and no way to get into the consulate. They lost their bookings and all the money of the flights. We were all devastated. I tried myself to call the consulate, impossible to get through. I sent many emails.
When the consulate eventually gave them the visas they booked another flight, only to be retarded by the airport police in Istanbul until their fight had left. Their turkish id's having been taken away they had no choice but to stay in the airport. They managed luckily to get another flight later that evening.
When they finally managed to get to France they found that all their luggage was held up in Istanbul.
But the whole lovely family is here now and a new life will begin! We are already providing French lessons and, having come on visas, they will be allowed to work whilst their asylum claims are being processed. We wish them all the very best for their new life in France.