Yasmin's story - Refugee Council

Yasmin’s story

We gave Yasmin a safe space with a specially trained therapist, and in a women's therapy group, helping her to process her experiences and find hope again. For refugees like Yasmin, the road to recovery can be long, and our work simply would not be possible without the generosity of our amazing supporters.

Yasmin is from Eritrea (in East Africa)…

… a country with a totalitarian government and a poor record on human rights. She lost her mother during childbirth and so her father raised her single-handedly. He encouraged her to pursue her dream of becoming a human rights lawyer.

She studied hard, completed her law degree and started to work with a small legal team. They covertly documented testimonies from survivors of torture inflicted by the totalitarian Eritrean government.

But after a year of this work, five members of Eritrean internal security raided the office. They confiscated laptops and phones, and arrested Yasmin.

Yamsin was held in a windowless cell, living in darkness, only able to see outside when the cell door opened. When it did, Yasmin was regularly raped, tortured, and taunted with the threat of execution.

She endured this nightmare for five months. Against all odds Yasmin’s father managed to secure her bail and arranged for her to be smuggled to safety in the UK. While she was physically safe, her ordeal was not over.

The effects of prolonged torture and abuse can be crippling; flashbacks, panic attacks, sleepless nights, which is why Refugee Council’s help has been so important to Yasmin.

Refugee Council are leaders in therapeutic support for refugees. We were able to offer Yasmin one to one sessions with a qualified therapist, helping her to work through her feelings of guilt, shame and fear.

Yasmin was shown techniques to help her cope with everyday life and rebuild emotional resilience. She was also given the space to share her story with other women who’d survived similar experiences, helping her to see she wasn’t alone.

Yasmin has come a long way and the difference in her is remarkable. She no longer feels subjugated and overwhelmed by the traumatic experiences of her past.

Not only has Yasmin now been legally granted asylum, but she has connected with an organisation here in the UK. This has meant she can pick up where she left off – in pursuit of human rights. With further support she has been able to contact her father. He has been safely relocated in a neighbouring country and Yasmin hopes that one day they will be reunited.

How our Therapeutic Care Model can help a survivor of trauma like Yasmin

Holistic Assessment

  • Establishing trust, in a place of safety, is essential if someone is to open up, so we can establish what they’ve been through and put together a support plan.

Coping techniques

  • From sleep therapy to anti-anxiety exercises, we can give someone like Yasmin the skills they need to cope with the everyday effects of trauma.


  • Helping someone ‘own’ their own story and understand that they are not to blame for what they have suffered, gives them the confidence to see a better future.

Explore more refugee stories

Support our work

You can help refugees to rebuild their lives in the UK by making a donation.