A young mum has spoken of the terror of being persecuted and kidnapped twice before seeking refuge in Milton Keynes.
Mia, her husband and their young daughter were so penniless they were forced to sleep in their car when they first arrived in the city.
But even that was luxury compared to their life in civil war-torn Sri Lanka, where they were under constant threat of violence or kidnap.
Mia said: “We were put through a lot of pain and suffering in Sri Lanka. When we first arrived here there was no-one to talk to and we felt very alone.
“When we applied for refugee status we were told that we could not work, which put us in a difficult situation because we had no means for supporting ourselves.”
The family’s modest savings were quickly eaten up and, unable to afford accommodation, they huddled together to sleep in their car.
“We couldn’t provide for our little girl, which was scary. We didn’t know how we were going to survive,” said Mia.
She turned to the Red Cross in Milton Keynes and met charity workers Gemma Rutland and Kerri Chana,
They provided Mia with food, clothing, counselling and crucial legal advice .
Today the young family is happily settling into city life, and looking forward to a peaceful future.
Mia said: “The Red Cross has made it possible for us to lead a safe and happy life. Their kindness is something I will never forget and will be eternally grateful for.”