By International Social Service, the Global Social Work Organization
ISS - 100 Years : The story of Arran, reuniting from Australia with his biological mother in Sierra Leone

The story of Arran, reuniting from Australia with his biological mother in Sierra Leone

Arran* was born in Sierra Leone to Mary* and Moses*. As a child, Arran travelled with a group of people seeking asylum in Australia. Immigration paperwork indicated that Arran’s biological mother was the person with whom he travelled to Australia. However, this person later stated that Arran was not her son. Arran then lived with an aunt in Australia but was removed from her care due to significant child protection concerns. Arran was then placed in foster care.

ISS Australia approached ISS West Africa to seek assistance to obtain information about Arran’s actual biological family in Sierra Leone. The person who brought Arran to Australia claimed his parents were deceased. However, Arran believed his parents were alive and living in Sierra Leone. Arran stated though he did not want to return to Africa and did not believe his parents would be able to come to live in Australia.

Despite very limited information, ISS West Africa were able to coordinate with their partner in Sierra Leone, who succeeded to locate and meet with Arran’s mother Mary. Mary advised that Arran had been snatched from her arms when he was little and had been smuggled to Australia. She did not know if he was alive or dead and became very emotional on learning her son was alive.

ISS Australia, ISS West Africa and their partner in Sierra Leone coordinated with Australian child protection services to re-establish contact between Arran and Mary. Although Mary is not in a position to resume care of Arran at this present time, they are in regular contact and hope to reunite in the near future.

*pseudonyms used to protect client’s identity

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ISS is present in more than 120 countries, constituting a well-connected network of NGOs, authorities and private social work practices. The ISS global network is coordinated by the ISS General Secretariat in Geneva.
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