Jenny: I met Shakeel in the Seychelles when I was over there for a holiday with my mum. It really was love at first sight! I already had three beautiful children from a previous marriage and hadn’t even considered finding another partner.
Shakeel: Jenny was such a change to my life. After we met, I really wanted to make something of myself, to build a future and a family with her. I told her that I had HIV straightaway, and after we talked about it, she said “well, that doesn’t change who you are or my love for you”. It was really hard living apart, Jenny would come and see me whenever she had the money but it was tough because she was caring for her kids, and we didn’t have much money. We lodged a partner visa, and prayed that we would be together soon. We got married, and then, to our delight, Jenny found out she was pregnant.
Jenny: We were over the moon. Except that Shakeel couldn’t come here. The partner visa was refused – they said we weren’t in a genuine relationship. And I was worried about Shakeel and his health too. I was terrified he wouldn’t be able to be here for the birth of our baby, and also would I be able to manage on my own? I had three other kids as well.
We found out about HALC from my doctor, and a HALC solicitor represented us in our appeal to the Tribunal about the partner visa, and helped Shakeel get a visitor visa so that he could be here for the birth of our son, Jazz. Our appeal was successful and we are now living our lives together as a family. Shakeel has a full time job as a diesel mechanic, and I look after Jazz and the children. Words cannot express how happy we are!
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