I’m writing because you expressed interest in getting updates from our new series on the lives of refugees and asylum seekers who have come to Europe: .
Today we have some happy news. Helen Pidd, our North of England editor, last week wrote about Samira Kitman, a 32-year-old Afghan woman living in Lancaster, who had her asylum claim refused by the Home Office. Kitman is a prominent artist and businesswoman whose calligraphy has been displayed at the V&A museum in London, where it was praised by Prince Charles.
Her prominence brought her to the attention of the Taliban, who attempted to kidnap her, she said, and so she fled the country for Britain.
“The people of are not ready for a woman to be doing business and working with foreigners,” she said.
Kitman was very distressed to have her asylum claim rejected by the Home Office, as is the case for the majority of applicants from the country, including , whose story we have been following.
However, after the Guardian published details of her plight, the Home Office granted Kitman asylum, saying it had not realised the extent of her profile. It accepted she was at risk if she was sent back to Afghanistan and was granted leave to stay in the UK for five years.
“Thank you a million trillion billion on behalf of Samira – we’re pretty sure it’s your article that has potentially saved her life,” said Jenny Natusch, an artist who has become a close friend of Kitman.
Read her and the at having been granted asylum.