David and Fortunate facing deportation!
AIT Students and community volunteers facing deportation after four years in Direct Provision
David and Fortunate Nesengani faced persecution in South Africa because of Fortunate’s Zimbabwean nationality, and moved around trying to escape it, experiencing violence in Capetown, and eventually making their way to Ireland in 2016 to claim asylum. Due to a combination of communication difficulties and difficulties in recounting traumatic events of many years ago, they were given deportation orders and are set to be deported on the 19th March 2020.
David is a 2nd Year Social Care student on work placement in Gateway Athlone, and volunteers with New Horizon in the Community Garden in Lissywollen, and has volunteered in Care Homes in the past. His wife is an active community volunteer in her churches Sunday School, the Direct Provision Centre Homework Club, and several Athlone Care Homes. She is studying on the Access Course with a view to getting into a degree course next year like her husband. They both are keen to be eventually granted the right to work and earn a living for themselves, and to get out of Direct Provision. They are valuable members of the community and have displayed resilience, initiative and drive. Fortunate was visited in her caravan Lissywollen Direct Provision Centre by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan in January in recognition for her work in assisting a fellow Direct Provision resident when he was dying, and informing his family, arranging his funeral, arranging places for his family to stay for the funeral, and ensuring he got a dignified send off.
Ironically the Ministers visit happened around the time that her deportation order was being signed off by Civil Servants, though it was not communicated to them until much later.
The Minister for Justice has the power to grant them leave to remain on humanitarian grounds. We implore him to do so, so that the valuable contributions they continue to make to the community in Athlone are not lost.