DCSIMG

Collingham caretaker says he has no choice but to return to Kenya

Portas Ongondo and Lady Hastings pupils

Portas Ongondo and Lady Hastings pupils

 

Children from Lady Hastings Primary School in Collingham will be saddended to learn their caretaker Portas Ongondo will be returning to Kenya, despite a month of dedicated campaigning.

Mr Ongondo, who has been supported by pupils over the summer, lost two appeals against the decision to deport him which followed the breakdown of his 34-year marriage.

The former UN worker lost his right to work and said he cannot face the prospect of depending on hand-outs to remain in the UK after working all of his life.

As he is expecting to lose his home soon, he has decided he has no choice but to return to Kenya and he now faces separation from his sons Emmanuel, Gerald and Sylvester.

Mr Ongondo said: “The most difficult time has gripped me since I learned I had lost my right to work, which resulted in my immediate resignation.

“Having lost the right to earnings, I have been left with no purpose to meaningful livelihood. I cannot access any medical services.

“I have already received a letter threatening me with removal, and at this point I need help to overturn the refusal to remain so I can work and take care of myself or assist me to go back to Kenya where I will not be threatened with arrest.

“The UK is known the world over as the mother of human rights for saving lives all over, and my life also needs to be given a chance to thrive.

“I would like to express my gratitude and most sincere thanks to all those who have participated in the internet or any other way for what they have done to help with my case. You always gave me hope and made me strong.”

Mr Ongondo arrived in the UK in 2006, along with his three sons, to support his wife who was working as a nurse.

Working for the UN in Kenya at the time, he travelled between his home country and the UK before joining his family in 2008 and was eventually allowed to stay in the UK as a dependent spouse.

Classified as an ‘overstayer’, Mr Ongondo will now try to submit another application from Kenya so he can

eventually rejoin his family in the UK.

While in Africa, Mr Ongondo will be able to visit his mother, daughter, and grandchild and will depend on their support.

Campaigner Claire Strachan said: “While I completely understand and support the decision Portas has had to make, it not only saddens me greatly, but I feel ashamed that no one has been able to change what is happening given the human rights aspect of this and his rights as a father.

“Since launching this campaign at the end of July, we have watched a well-loved and important member of our community lose everything that meant anything to him, and he is now losing the family in the UK that he has fought so hard to stay with.”

Parents are now starting a fundraising campaign to support Portas, and the petition to keep him in the UK, now with more than 1,000 signatures, continues to gain support.

The campaign team behind Mr Ongondo are meeting with Elmet and Rothwell MP Alec Shelbrooke today.

Mr Shelbrooke said: “I have been helping Portas and Collingham School with this case since November 2013 and will continue to do what I can to support the community as their local MP.

“I plan to meet with Portas again this week but in the meantime I have written again to the Home Secretary and will seek further advice when Parliament returns on Monday.”

The Home Office confirmed that Mr Ongondo is leaving the UK voluntarily and they are working with him to facilitate that.

A spokesman said: “All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.”

To sign the petition, go to www.petitions24.com/portas_owino_ongondo_right_to_remain_in_the_uk_2

 

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