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This is a story from our archive. Meanwhile Fatiha has a residence permit and she is building a new future.

Fatiha Miezour is a single mother of two young girls, 7 and 4 years old. She is from Morocco and is staying in the Netherlands since 2012, without additional family. Fatiha is awaiting her status as an asylum seeker. In two months the court gives a decision.

How do you experience your stay in the Netherlands?

In the beginning I found it difficult to be here. After leaving Morocco I first had shelter with a Moroccan-Dutch family in Utrecht. Contact was rather difficult. After six months I had to leave there. STIL (a solidarity organization in Utrecht for rejected refugees, people in asylum procedure and migrants without papers) has searched for a new place for me and for ten months we could live with a Dutch family in Driebergen. I got my own room and we felt at home. But this family was moving and so we had to go away there too.

Luckily we quickly could go to a new family in Amsterdam. We stayed for a year and they have almost become family of us. We are still in touch, we call and see each other regularly. But eventually I wanted to go back to Utrecht. STIL was able to help us to our own home in Kanaleneiland and would assist us in getting a residence permit. For my kids it was stress-full to start over again and again, with a new school each time and new friends. That is why I had to be strong, especially for them. I find that difficult. Because it is a very exciting time for me too. But I get a lot of help and support.

What have you discovered in the time of you being here?

I find it remarkable to see how much freedom there is in the Netherlands, especially for women. They can be who they are, live as they want. I was not used to that in Morocco, you have to always be subservient to men there. Women can just go to school and can work. I also see less fear in the Netherlands, there is more openness. Everything can be discussed.

What does Villa Vrede mean to you?

In a word: family. My kids experience that too. They love to come here to participate in activities or to play with other children. That contact is important to us. Not just with other women and children, but also with Wilma (coordinator Villa Vrede) and Marieke (pastor of refugees and asylum seekers). They support us, also in practical matters like swimming lesson and language lesson. Without Villa Vrede and STIL I would have never managed.

Which talents do you have?

I like cooking very much and do so at festive moments of Villa Vrede. Besides that I would like to care for the elderly, because I like that and find it important. I can listen well to others.

What would you like to pass on to others?

To people without papers I would say: be strong, hold on. I know how difficult that is, but you have to keep courage for your kids and work actively on your future. Just dealing with fear and stress has a paralyzing effect. That is why you have to do something.

What would you do if you were mayor of Utrecht or Prime Minister of the Netherlands?

I would like to help people without papers to get a permanent residence and schooling. Especially mothers with kids. When a mother is afraid and stressed this has a negative impact on her kids. If caring for mothers is well that will help others simultaneously.

What is your hope for the future?

I hope to get a permanent residence in Utrecht and a school where my daughters can stay and get opportunities for their future. I would like to get more schooling myself, especially to be able to speak and write the Dutch language better. Finally I hope to someday help people in trouble, like people without papers. Because I know how important that is.

(Interview: Gottfrid van Eck, PR volunteer at Villa Vrede)