Two years ago I had just been moved from one prison in India to another. You may remember my appeal from this time, when I wrote about the appalling conditions of my old prison and the hellish process of being moved to the new one. There were lots of things to get used to in my new prison; the sewage tanks were too small and often overflowed into our exercise yard, the electricity regularly failed due to being wired incorrectly and our water frequently ran out. Back in 2017 I wrote about how the food in prison wasn't nutritious. Unfortunately, this was the same when I was moved; the food was void of all nutritional value, and it was hard to stay healthy.

Thankfully I'm now back in the UK but I want to tell you a little more about the conditions I faced in prison in India.

The food given to me in both prisons could easily have caused me to fall ill. The Survival Grant I was sent from Prisoners Abroad meant I could escape illness by buying fruit, vegetables and nuts to supplement my diet and bottled water when our supply ran out. It is the support of Prisoners Abroad that kept me alive and helped me to stay optimistic in the hardest of situations.

With all I had to worry about in prison, being away from my daughters was still the hardest part for me. The new prison I was moved to had an international telephone which I could use thanks to Prisoners Abroad's Survival Grant. At last, I could speak to my daughters again. Hearing their voices kept us connected and powered my hope that one day soon I would be free and we would be reunited.

Prisoners Abroad sent me information booklets about the Resettlement Programme they ran for those returning to the UK following release. I read them over and over again, hoping that before long I would be back in the UK making use of them. And then, one afternoon, I went to court and the judge quietly and quickly acquitted me of all the charges against me.

After three years and seven months of being in prison, I was finally free. The knowledge that Prisoners Abroad and their Resettlement Programme were there to support me was a beacon of light as my deportation date became imminent.

When I did arrive back in the UK, I visited Prisoners Abroad’s office within a few days. I was warmly welcomed and assigned a Resettlement Officer, Umme. Within moments she had everything under control. She completed the arduous online applications so I could begin to receive Universal Credit, she made sure I had somewhere safe to live, she typed letters and even asked if I needed money to buy food.

Once my basic needs were organised I then had to look for work, but I had lived outside the UK for so long I had little idea about what I could do, let alone what I wanted to do. I was still trying to process my return to England. The much anticipated reunion with my daughters hadn’t materialised. I felt confused and under pressure. I felt lonely and on some days quite hopeless.

Umme supported me through that too. She helped me realise that these feelings were normal, that I didn’t have to suffer alone and she encouraged me to speak to my GP about my mental health issues. Then, she introduced me to Koestler Arts and suggested I apply to be an exhibition host at their annual art show. At the same time, she told me about the Work Preparation Programme run by Prisoners Abroad.

I applied for the job and started the Work Preparation Programme run by Shirley. I got so much out of the course. I compiled my CV with Shirley’s guidance and with her support I identified what skills I have. To my complete surprise, soon after I was offered the job with Koestler.

So, four months after returning to the UK, I’m working for Koestler Arts in London, hosting their exciting annual exhibition of art created by people in prison. This is all thanks to Prisoners Abroad who helped me from the moment they found out I was in prison through to now. They picked me up, dusted me off and put me on the right road to a successful new life here in the UK.

I’m still separated from my daughters. Unfortunately, we don’t live near to one another but I know they are happy and settled where they are and they know they are loved. We’ve been apart for so long and a lot has happened during the time we were separated. They have grown and we have all changed. We have a long way to go but as I write this we are slowly building our relationship again. Although we may have lost a few years, we know we have many more ahead.

If you are able to donate today to support others like me, in prison and on return to the UK, you could make a huge different to someone's life this winter.