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Window on world of an asylum-seeker

A poignant photography exhibition tells one man’s story from arriving in Norwich from Ethiopia in the winter of 2022. The photos plot his journey through Yarlswood Immigration Centre to a hotel in Norwich.

To begin with, Yonas Bogale would spend his days sitting on Gentleman’s Walk, observing life in the city. With time he found a faith community at Oak Grove Community Church in Norwich, where he also found a football team to join. Pictures from inside the hotel depict people spending time trying to connect with home, giving each other haircuts… waiting. Then a free bike from Welcome Wheels opened up the possibilities for him to get out more. He started English classes through New Routes and English+ and began volunteering in conservation work, the British Red Cross, for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and the Mile Cross Project, each giving him the chance to connect with the local community.

Yonas has now become an advisor to Norwich Refugee Weekย and will join New Routes’ People with Lived Experience advisory board to help steer the future direction of the charity. As he waits to hear a decision on his asylum claim, his dream is to study for a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at UEA.

To donate to this year’s Refugee Week fundraiser, click here for the Welcome Wheels crowdfunder.