A man whose dream to study medicine drove him out of Sudan 11 years ago, feels like all his efforts to survive and build a decent life will vanish come October.

Mohammed Ahmed’s protection status is up for renewal in October, but the government has already announced that the Temporary Humanitarian Protection – New status, known as THPn, will be halted as from November.

Until then, THPn holders are expected to procure documentation from their country of origin, with NGOs insisting that hundreds of people are being asked to comply with requirements that the government knows they are unable to meet.

Mr Mohammed has “no idea what to do, and can only leave it in God’s hands”. He “knows” it is impossible to gain any documents from his home country that would allow him to apply for a residence permit in Malta.

The 39-year-old describes his flight from Sudan as that of “a bird without a map”, after years of living in hiding to avoid being conscripted in the army.

I have no idea what to do

The conflict in Sudan disrupted the young man’s plans to study medicine, and did not allow him the freedom to express himself through music.

He thought he could pursue his studies in the UK, so he fled aged 28. Instead he landed in Malta, where he has been living for 11 years, and although he still had to give up his dream of studying, he has managed to build a life.

Mr Mohammed rents out accommodation, has a regular job as a houseman at a hotel, and pays his taxes and social contribution. THPn applicants are in fact required to fulfil criteria such as employment, independent housing and fiscal contributions to gain this type of protection.

Mr Mohammed wishes he had been granted some other type of protection, such as subsidiary, that would have allowed him to study here. He has now sought the advice of a lawyer to help him gain a more stable residence after more than a decade here.

Seeing one of his dreams go up in smoke did not stop him from pursuing his music ambitions, he said, leafing through several local newspaper cuttings and magazines showing him performing to different audiences.

Breaking into harmonious singing, Mr Mohammed explained that he has been sharing his knowledge of Sudanese culture through music by taking part in local events celebrating multiculturalism, including those organised at schools.

Mr Mohammed speaks Maltese and English, has built a strong network of friends, and would not change Malta with anywhere, neither the UK, nor the US. He feels like he knows Malta more than Sudan, and has nowhere and no one to return to after so many years missing.

The man thought that, after more than 10 years here, he had finally managed to gain some peace of mind. “It feels like it’s all finished now”, he said, lifting his hands to express his sense of hopelessness.

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