21 December 2022

Growth: Part 2

A purple book on a desk called I Was Not Born a Sad Poet by Loraine Masiya Mponela

Loraine Masiya Mponela on what the two years have brought since she last wrote for Result CIC, including her new book of poetry.

I still remember how frightened I was at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. It felt as though the world was ending for me. It was scary and heavy. Yet, I became busier than I've ever been in my entire life. It was an overwhelming experience for me. But as others would call God or the universe, had a plan in place for me. I was one of the people that joined a programme called ‘Resilience beyond Crisis’ including coaching sessions from Result CIC. The support I received helped me to think through my priorities and plan my days where I could, as hard as it was. I learnt a lot about myself too in the process. The group sessions that I was also part of helped me to learn from others and shared struggles that we as leaders in our own right, face on a day-to-day basis within the migration sector. The final part I was paired up with Jane, also from Result CIC who shared with me various resources and linked me up with people with publishing experience.

Time indeed flies. It's been exactly 2 years since I wrote this article called Growth and I am excited to be back and connect again here. A lot has happened since.

I have been reflecting on what one of the Lecturers in Law from the University of Liverpool wrote to me. She said, ‘It's so important to have someone who is willing to speak up about their own treatment. Frequently lawyers have to protect clients who are afraid of speaking. Keep it up.’ This was in response to an interview I gave to BBC Woman's hour radio 4 in July 2020. The lecturer was right. Hostile environment policies have caused fear in people who are seeking asylum but get refused.

I was one of the lucky few that learnt early that as asylum seekers we cannot act as bystanders until we all die. The suffering is too much. I am someone who has been stuck in the asylum system for many years. The process was long before I could be officially declared an asylum seeker and be admitted into the system. It has been a very stressful life yet with also so many opportunities for growth.

I have contributed to guest blogs such as Trying to Heal in the Midst of Chaos.

There are some in academic journals too such as this for Refugee Survey Quarterly or this one for Europe PMC.

I have also been learning poetry as a way of coping.

This year in August 2022 my legal representative communicated I had been accepted by Home Office as a refugee via Twitter. Upon hearing this news one of my friends said, ‘A true living symbol of liberation-even under the harshest of circumstances, you've embodied freedom.’

As a survivor of these hostile environment policies, I make this my lifelong commitment for change as we continue to seek social justice and dignity, freedom and fairness in the UK asylum and immigration system.

I have so much on hold I could not wait any longer to publish my first ever poetry book 'I was not born a sad poet.'

So far the anthology has been well received. For once I am very happy. My only worry is how can we make sure asylum seekers and everyone barred from work get hold of the book. 

Many asylum seekers and refugees have said the book resonates with them and give them hope as they are trying to settle in a new country.

Below is how you can get a copy of my book:

Kindle customers.

Paperback UK customers.

Paperback US customers.

Or Email for a signed copy or asylum seekers bundle: activistlorainemponela@gmail.com

For those wanting to buy in bulk to gift their friends, people who can not afford to buy or members of staff or their trustees there's a promotion that ends on 15 December- you pay £60 for 10 books including postage.  


Loraine Masiya Mponela is a Malawian-born, Migrants Rights Campaigner and Community Organiser based in Coventry. She is the ex-chair (2018-2022) for CARAG (https://www.carag.co.uk ). Loraine is one of the co-chairs for Status Now Network (SNN). SNN https://www.statusnow4all.org campaigns for Indefinite Leave To Remain for everyone who needs it in UK and Ireland. Loraine is a newly recognised refugee, who has been in asylum system since 2015. Loraine has a lovely son.

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