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Lemlem Hussein Abdu

5 Oct

Lemlem looking after friends kids at RASAG party

Once again the Home Office has failed to make the right decision about the case of Lemlem Hussein Abdu.  The UK border Agency has ordered her to leave the UK and booked her a flight to Ethiopia yesterday – Lemlem is not from Ethiopia she is from Eritrea. 

There will be a demonstration outside Sheffield Town Hall on Friday 15th October at 4.30 – there will probably be a banner making session before (further info to follow) but any banners saying things like “Lemlem must stay” and “Keep Lemlem in Sheffield” will add colour and visibility.

Please join the facebook group for further info on the campaign!/group.php?gid=102878976433976&ref=mf


Keep Campaigning For Lemlem

21 Jul

Lemlem has got a temporary reprieve but we need to make sure that this is not just a stay of execution.  Please copy the text below, personalise it if possible and send it to Meg Munn’s email address which is at the top – Meg Munn is Lemlem’s MP and is the only person who has the chance to successfully lobby Theresa May, home secretary on Lemlem’s behalf.

Ms. Meg Munn, MP
PO BOX 4333,
Fax: 0114 258 6622
Tel.: 0114 258 2010

RE Lemlem Hussein Abdu, HO ref number: A1357578

Dear Ms. Munn

I am writing to ask you to lobby the Home Secretary to halt the deportation of one of your constituents, a 60 year old Eritrean woman called Lemlem Hussein Abdu, and to request that she be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Lemlem is currently being detained at Yarl’s Wood. A flight booked for Wednesday 21 July has now been cancelled but she is still liable for imminent deportation.

Here is a brief outline of her story. Lemlem was born in what is now Eritrea. Her whole family was murdered by Ethiopian forces due to their support for a group called the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in 1978, but she was one of the few in her village who managed to escape. She fled to Sudan and then Saudi Arabia where she worked as a nanny/household helper for a Saudi family. Lemlem suffered an accident in 2000, which left her with difficulty walking and meant she could not carry out some tasks. The family she worked for stopped paying her wages, and then some years later (on a trip to the UK) they abandoned her alone in London with no money and no identification.

Lemlem is unable to return to Eritrea due to her affiliation with the ELF, which is persecuted by the government there. She has sought asylum in the UK but has been refused. It should be noted that the United Nations has called on all countries to cease returns to Eritrea due to severe human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch also observes that Eritreans who have tried to flee the country “risk severe punishments” if returned (

Despite the tragic events of her life so far and her uncertain and seemingly hopeless situation, Lemlem has thrown herself into her life in Sheffield, and due to her enthusiasm to master English and her friendly, warm and caring attitude she has won many friends. She is an inspiration to all of us who know her.

The Home Office is planning to deport Lemlem to Ethiopia. This is despite the fact that she has never lived in Ethiopia and has no contacts there. Her age and disability (a very bad limp and eyesight problems) mean that she would be unable to obtain work and support herself in a new country. She would have no means of earning a living and no support whatsoever in Ethiopia where the main language spoken is not her first language. Lemlem is furthermore a member of the ELF, which Ethiopia has waged war against.

I would urge you to look again at Lemlem’s case with the utmost urgency.
I look forward to your reply

Yours sincerely

Name: Address:

Protest for Lemlem

20 Jul

This could be our last chance to make a difference.

Lemlem is due to be deported to Ethiopia tomorrow, despite the fact that she is not from there and has never been there before.  Lemlem does not speak Amharic, the first language of Ethiopia.  Her family and village were murdered by Ethiopian forces in 1978 due to their association with the Eritrean Liberation Front, so Lemlem will be seen as an enemy in Ethiopia.  She is 60 years old, has a bad limp and poor eyesight – she has no chance of surviving in a new country where she has no friends or contacts.

If you’re in any doubt about how failed  asylum seekers are removed from the UK and who by, check out the Independant’s front page on Monday 5th July 2010

There is a facebook event for the protest at;!/event.php?eid=125508334160492&ref=mf

The details are Vulcan House, 6 Millsands, Sheffield S3 8NU,  Today · 15:00 – 17:00

For more information look at the facebook group.  Sign Lemlem’s petition at;

Don’t let them send this poor lady away from the UK where she is safe and much loved.

Lemlem must stay!


29 Jun

As the Legends Project approaches the finale of this leg of it’s journey, appearances at Gleadless Valley and Sharrow festivals, it seems that the time to take stock is nigh…

Legends kicked off with a workshop on the 18th July and despite complications including court appearances, fork lift truck driving lessons, hospital appointments and illness, we had a marvelous time with singing, dancing and lots of storytelling!

Activities that we worked on included a storytelling circle where  we took turns in sitting in “the magic chair” and telling a story to the rest of the group – everyone chose their own tale and did this exercise by themselves – something many would not have felt confident to do at the start of the day.

The magic chair was the place to tell stories!

We also asked people to take a piece of flipchart paper to a quiet corner and write or draw something they would like to tell about.  This produced some fabulous results that formed the basis of our exhibition.  As I had hoped in the planning stages of the project, this allowed people to express feelings and ideas that reflected on the refugee and asylum seeker experience, with people sharing elements of the story of how they escaped their country and feelings about the injustice of their struggle for freedom.  There were also funny personal anecdotes and stories which expressed a dilemma, calling on the addressee to answer questions about morality and due cause…

We put the written stories on the wall and discussed them

We took a break to enjoy a meal together and stories continued to bound across the table, with magic amulets and language being particularly strong topics!

The next day some of the participants and our professional storyteller Roisin Murray set up a gazebo at Heeley Festival and entertained adults and children with our stories.

In the evening we went on stage at Assist’s One World Over Concert, where we enjoyed explaining the project, singing a song and telling some stories – the group felt great and really elated after this event!

On Monday 21st June the group entertained audiences at Central and Ecclessall library and we showed an exhibition of stories and photo’s which was of great interest to the attendants.

The exhibition of stories and pictures was well received in the libraries

After a week in the storytelling wilderness RASAG was out in force at the Heeley Institute Variety is the Spice of Life community lunch yesterday.  Nine participants entertained an audience of over 50 people with songs, stories and more stories!  City of Sanctuary’s film maker Andrew was there and we are all very excited to see the results of his filming.  This was our greatest event so far and the participants really came into their own, taking center stage and proving the personal growth that’s been achieved through the Legends project.  The aim of the Legends project was to give people a voice and to help them to interact with the community and it was a source of great pride to see this in action.

Next on the agenda for Legends are appearances at Gleadless Valley Festival on Saturday 3rd June at 11.50 and on Sharrow Festival’s Community Stage on the same day at 1.15.  If the Heeley Institute appearance is anything to go by, we’re going to take the crowd by storm!

Performances and picnic

9 Jun

Legends storytelling group will be performing at

Heeley Festival Sat, 19/06/2010 all day in a gazebo

One World Over Sat, 19/06/2010 – 19:00 – 22:00. In Aid of ASSIST, at the Montgomery Hall, Surrey St (by the big wheel)

Central Library Surrey Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 1XZ, 12.30 – 1.30 Mon 28/06/2010

Ecclesall Library 120 Ecclesall Road South, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S11 9PL, 5.30 – 6.30 Mon 28/06/2010!/group.php?gid=105594016150685&ref=ts

The RASAG/Big Lunch picnic will now be held at Sharrow Summer Flea Market, Old Junior School, South View Road Sheffield S7 1DB on 12 – 5 pm, 18/07/2010