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Tan’s Story

Tan

When I was 15 my mother bought me a flight from my home in Vietnam to France in the hope that I could find a better life than the one I currently had.

When I arrived in France a man who had a big van told me and another six people to hide in the back for five or six hours until we got to England. It was very scary as I was on my own and everything was different – I couldn’t understand the language or eat the food.

The support I got from their young people’s service Horizons helped me understand how things worked. I had a place of my own and felt able to settle down. I was supported with all the things you need to know when you have your own flat and other things I didn’t know anything about like registering with a GP, opening a bank account and I was also supported to find an English class which I attend one day a week.

The leader got me to work as a housekeeper in London however he never paid me any money so I ran away – I needed to earn money as I wanted to send this home to my mother.

I soon met some Vietnamese people and they recommended I went to Edinburgh where I worked in a nail bar, however the police found me working there and social services got involved. I was told to live with a family but I soon ran away going back to the man with the van as I was scared and didn’t know what the family were saying. The man forced me to get involved in a cannabis growing factory which the police raided and I ended up in Edinburgh Secure Services which was when things began to change for me.

While I was living in the Alison Unit I was referred to with YOU for one of their care leavers’ flats. The support I got from their young people’s service Horizons helped me understand how things worked. I had a place of my own and felt able to settle down. I was supported with all the things you need to know when you have your own flat and other things I didn’t know anything about like registering with a GP, opening a bank account and I was also supported to find an English class which I attend one day a week.

After 18 months with Horizons I now feel it’s the right time to move on. I have a secure tenancy, a full time job in a nail bar which I love, a group of friends and my English is improving all the time.

At the minute I can’t go back to Vietnam to visit my mother as I have to live in the UK for some more time before I can get a British passport. I do speak to her every week by mobile and Skype and she is very happy. She had been really worried about me for a long time as I hadn’t been able to contact her but she now sees I’m doing well. It’s been 6 years since I left Vietnam and I really enjoy living in Edinburgh – I’ve got to like the food although I think the weather will always be a problem!

I have a secure tenancy, a full time job in a nail bar which I love, a group of friends and my English is improving all the time.