An event in Bradford will hear refugees and asylum seekers recount their lives.

The event, part of the City of Sanctuary project aimed at welcoming those who have had to flee their home countries, is the first of several planned.

Among those due to speak is Emmanuel, a doctor forced to flee his home in Africa. Despite his qualifications and experience, he is now forced to make ends meet stacking shelves at a supermarket in Bradford.

Emmanuel (not his real name), an orthopaedic surgeon, fled his home country in Africa when rebel troops attacked his hospital, shot several staff and patients and burned down the outpatients department.

He managed to escape and, after an arduous and highly dangerous journey, during which several fellow escapees died, he arrived in the UK to seek refuge.

Emmanuel’s troubles did not end there, however.

Will Sutcliffe, chairman of the Bradford City of Sanctuary project, said: “Exhausted and traumatised by the journey, and confused by the barrage of poorly interpreted questions at his asylum interview, Emmanuel mixed up some dates and details of the events leading to his escape from his homeland.

“He was told that he was lying and his claim for asylum in the UK was refused.

“Many months of complete destitution followed, sleeping in derelict buildings or on friends’ floors and surviving on food parcels.

“Eventually a local charity helped him find a solicitor willing to appeal against the Home Office’s decision and this time he was successful in gaining refugee status.

“He now stacks shelves in a supermarket, but still dreams of one day of using his medical skills to help the people of this country.”

Stories of Sanctuary will take place on Wednesday, February 4, at St Mary’s Church Hall on East Parade between 6pm and 8pm.

Information about the event is available from the group’s website at cityof or Mr Sutcliffe on (01274) 721626.