Norwich family celebrate deportation fight win
By Keith Morris
2010: A Norwich
Christian family has celebrated victory in its fight against deportation from the UK at a joyous graduation ceremony at the University of East Anglia
which provided final evidence of necessary academic qualifications.Scholastica Mokake
, 45, and her children Gabriel,
18, and Severin
, 13, from Norwich had days earlier been granted an extension of leave to remain for the next three years and not be deported back to Tanzania.
On Tuesday (July 13) Scholastica graduated from the UEA with her philosophy PhD to provide final evidence of her academic qualifications, which was the reason initially given by the UK Border Agency in refusing her application for a post-study visa. After the ceremony, Scholastica said: “Looking back at my life, this is the doing of the Lord.”
A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “An immigration judge has upheld Mrs Mokake's appeal against the visa application refusal and granted her discretionary leave to remain in the UK for three years on human rights grounds. The UK Border Agency is taking the necessary steps to implement the judge's decision.”
Thousands of people had rushed to support the family’s campaign to stay in the UK, including an online Facebook campaign which has attracted around 4,800 members and an online petition with over 3,000 signatories.
The family have been in Norwich for nine years and social worker and church leader Scholastica has been helping to support scores of refugees from Africa in Norwich through the Rivers of Life church and her work as a social worker with the Gateway programme.
The church started meeting in November 2009 in St Augustine’s church hall in Norwich and the now 100-strong congregation meets most Sundays at City Gates Centre in Cowgate from 2-5pm. It is a vital lifeline for many of the African families and helps them to learn English.
Gabriel is in the Hewett School sixth form and friends and teachers there organised a concert to raise support and awareness of the family’s plight on June 25 at the school. A talented singer, Gabriel sang at the concert and has recently beaten thousands of applicants to secure places at two of the world’s top drama schools.
Scholastica said: “My other son is at Sprowston High School and is settled there. He was just three years old and Gabriel was just nine when we came to this country so they have grown up in Norwich.
“I am proud to be a mother of such talented children, what has happened moved my heart and I believe, if all these people are for us, no immigration law can be against us. Thank you very much for all the support, love and kindness and receive our sincere gratitude.