Fadouma’s life story unfolds like a tapestry of resilience woven through decades of conflict, displacement, and the enduring hope for reunion with her family. Married for so long that the memories of their wedding have faded, Fadouma and her husband Ali Mohamed Zein have weathered the storms of war in their native Somalia, only to find themselves seeking refuge in Syria, where conflict erupted anew.

For 20 years, the uncertainty of their daughter Fatima’s fate cast a shadow over their lives, a period marked by the relentless upheaval that saw them remain in Mogadishu through 17 harrowing years of conflict, until the situation forced their hand in 2008, leading them to Syria. The outbreak of war there in 2011 eerily mirrored their past traumas, rekindling memories of the violence they had hoped to escape.

Amidst the adversity of aging and Ali Mohamed’s deteriorating health, the couple found solace in the care provided by fellow Somali refugees. Yet, the departure of these caregivers for new beginnings elsewhere left Fadouma and her husband in increasing isolation.

The thread of hope wove its way back into their lives in an extraordinary twist of fate within the Somali exile community in Syria. A chance encounter led to the miraculous reunion with their long-lost daughter Fatima in 2010, who had made her way to Germany and then the UK, enduring her own trials, including the loss of her husband.

The joy of their reunion was tempered by the reality of Ali Mohamed’s health, but it marked the beginning of a concerted effort by Fatima to bring her parents to the UK for a chance at a peaceful and secure family life. Their imminent relocation under a family reunification scheme represents the culmination of years of separation, sacrifice, and the relentless pursuit of safety and stability.