One of our members and residents, Luqman Onikosi, has finally won his fight to assert his right to live in the UK. Here's what Luqman had to say:
28th of September 2020 was the last day the Home Office had to decide whether or not to appeal the decision of the Upper Tier Tribunal to award me a Leave to Remain. I can now inform you that the Home Office did not appeal the decision of the Upper Tier Tribunal. This means that I am free. The battle is over. I have won my case!
Before now, I have particularly been consumed for many years about how I can best express my gratitude to every individual who has supported emotionally, donated to my campaign, and committed to coming to court with me in the past 9 years of my struggle against my removal from the UK. The point is I don't know how to thank you because I owe each and every one of you immensely. You have given me a new lease of life and so much to live for.
How do I repay you for your time in coming to court, emotional support and financial generosity? Without which I and my campaign would not have survived. All I have is my words to convey my extreme gratitude. Yet, words do not seem enough to describe and convey my gratitude. I can only say thank you from the bottom of my heart for your unflinching fervent support. I will cherish this new freedom that has just been bestowed up me for the rest of my life.
Lots of love
Luqman Temitayo OnikosiAl Medinah Mosque
L’Shana Tova, a very happy (Jewish) New Year to you all. It is now 5781 which will hopefully be a somewhat more joyous year than 5780. One thing that I like about Jewish festivals, other than the food, is that when you drink the ritual wine you say, “l’chaim”, “to life”. Many years ago my brother pointed out to me that there is something outrageously optimistic about the toast. It’s an expression of an absolute commitment to the value of existence. No matter how terrible the situation, no matter the pain and the suffering, to life, to life.
Now, as it happens, and it is a coincidence, we held our AGM this month. As well as it being a legal and constitutional requirement, it would also, for me at least, a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what together we have created and what a remarkable achievement T4K actually is. In no small part this reflection was helped by the beautiful annual report which Dani put together. You can find the report here. If you want a hard copy to give to your friends, let us know and we can put it in the post to you.
The headline figures were striking, even to me, a monthly income of around £2,300 a month from around 450 donors is, I think, quite astonishing. We haven’t yet reached our target of a 1000 donors, but there is still time. We have housed 16 adults and 4 children and helped 26 people through our innovative interest-free loan scheme. We were lucky to partner with the East Sussex Credit Union and receive money from NACCOM to assist people with the exorbitant costs of making immigration applications. It has meant that people have not lost their visa, they’ve not been separated from their children, they’ve been able to apply and receive settlement in the UK.
I feel a little bit sad because it seems like summer is coming to an end. I am hoping that that is not a sentiment shared by you wonderful people. You deserve eternal summer next to the river of bliss. The reason for that is simple. You are spreading joy by bringing safety to people who would otherwise be condemned to the perpetual drizzle of a Home Office imposed nightmare. Thank you. Not that this matters, but your kindness will also sustain me as the gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Enough pretentious references. The really fantastic news is that you have taken on another house. Unfortunately, it’s not because the cup of kindness campaign has been so successful that we suddenly have another £1000 a month, but rather it was the best way to secure a tenancy for a man with refugee status. As the JCWI proved in court, there is systematic discrimination against people with unusual -looking documents in the housing market. It’s testament to the trust that we’ve been able to build up with estate agents, that we can enter into this sort of agreement and thus support people to rebuild their lives in Brighton and Hove.
Eid Mubarak to everybody. It is super fun to be able to send out a newsletter on the exact day of a major festival. Unfortunately, my knowledge of Eid al-Adha is somewhat limited. I have the basics down, it celebrates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice Ishmail, but beyond that I’m lost. If I was a truly globally minded person, I would be able to say something of relevance. Do be in touch to enlighten my ignorance.
Strength to Strength
I am less ignorant about what Thousand 4 1000 has been up to. The two moves that we did last month went well. The family are settling into their new house and are super happy that they have a bit more space to breathe in. The two new T4K residents are also setting up home. There are the usual teething problems, finding a bed that fits down the narrow staircase, getting the agent to fix the small (and sometimes larger) snags, working out how the new kitchen works and so on and so on. I’ve not been directly involved, so for me it’s just wonderful that the project has reached this new level.
Speaking of which, for some reason, I had to look up information about us on the Charity Commission website. I realised that we only incorporated in 2017 and we now have an income of about £80,000 a year. Almost all of that money is coming from small individual donations and, bar a tiny amount, it’s all being used to provide houses and financial support to people trapped on the wrong side of the border. It made me happy. I also think that you should all be very proud of yourselves. It is a collective effort and it is making an enormous difference to individuals and our community. Thank you all so much.
Ramadan Kareem. It is rather strange to find that the start of summer does not include the Brighton Festival. These are strange times indeed. I very much hope that you are managing to stay safe, that your loved ones are healthy and that the only adverse effect of the virus is the restriction on your social life. I appreciate that that is likely to be a forlorn hope.
We have lots of good news from T4K. The cup of kindness campaign continues. We have had around about £60 worth of new subscriptions this month. Unfortunately, the net is only about £30 because, understandably, people have had to reduce their donation.
More great news is that Finnish filmmaker, Anna Lunden, made this wonderful short film about Thousand 4 1000 and the cup of kindness campaign. It gives us a little flavour of who we are and what we do.It’s also perfect for sharing with all of your friends. Do please spread it far and wide. There is a desperate need for more long-term housing and that means more money. On that note, I want to send a big thank you to everybody who uploaded something about why they support Thousand 4 1000. Do please keep them coming. Remember, you can email them to us or tag us in on Facebook and Twitter.
A Cup of Kindness
It is a new decade and a time of change. Here at Thousand 4 1000 we are launching a campaign to double our donor base and double our income by the end of the year. We are calling it the Cup Of Kindness campaign. That’s partly because asking people to give as little as a pound a month is not a very effective fundraising strategy, so we are going to change that by suggesting that people give us the price of a cup of coffee every month. You’re still welcome to give a pound of course. One of the points of the project is to show that there is no migrant crisis. The costs of being hospitable are minimal. Almost everybody can spare something and we want everybody to be involved. It’s mass action that brings change.Read more
I apologise profusely for the delay in sending out an update. I think that those apologies are mostly due to my indefatigable colleagues who have not shirked any of their responsibilities and who have kept T4K humming along. Thanks to your support and their efforts, T4K continues to make homes for the disposed in Brighton. There are two families and four single men being housed on your pound plus loads of other people hosted and/or assisted to make a life for themselves in our fair city.
One of the reasons I’ve been struggling to write these updates is that the immigration system and its brutality is wearing me down. We had two big victories back in September and I wanted to write to tell you about them, but as I started they came to seem more and more Pyrrhic. I’ll write about one of them because I think it perfectly encapsulates just how life denying our asylum system is.
One of the families whom you are supporting would really love a laptop. As well as it being generally a useful thing to have, some of the family members are studying and could really use something to do their work on. I know that we are always asking for laptops, but if you can help that would be fantastic.Read more