Scottish mum pleads for Tunisian fiancé to be allowed into UK to meet their baby daughter for first time
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and millions of people in lockdown across the globe, a woman from Kirkcaldy has been separated from her fiancé who lives in Tunisia.
Emma Higgins has not seen her fiancé and father to their seven-month-old daughter, Ava, since February last year at the onset of the pandemic.
Hamdi Sakka, who lives in Kairouan, Tunisia, has only seen his daughter on video calls as travel restrictions and visa issues have made it impossible for the family to be reunited.
The couple met two years ago when Emma was on holiday and after a whirlwind romance got engaged to be married.
They were overjoyed when Emma learned that she was pregnant, but that was short lived as they realised that she would have to return to Scotland alone.
Emma said: “Long distance relationships are always going to be hard, but now with Covid it has made it even worse.
"I flew home February last year, and Ava was born in July.
"I was planning on taking Ava to see her dad when travel restrictions eased, but as there was a delay getting her birth certificate due to Covid I was unable to get her passport, and we missed the window before restrictions were put back in place.
"It has been absolutely horrible for us. Hamdi has missed so much and it is breaking his heart that he is not able to be with his daughter.
"I have been trying to capture all of her firsts on video just so her dad doesn’t miss it all -, but it is not the same as him being with her. He just wants to hold his daughter.”
Emma admits the past year has been incredibly tough.
"I’m on my own, I have no family in Kirkcaldy, and no one to help me,” she said. “I don’t usually talk about my personal life but now I’m desperate and feel so helpless!
"I have been naive in thinking that it would be have been easier than this.
"I fell in love and never thought that Covid would just be round the corner.”
Even though the family have been keeping in regular contact through video calls, Hamdi said the mental anguish of being apart from his family is hard to bear.
“The fact that I can’t be with Emma and Ava has made me upset, angry, nervous and stressed,” he said. “I just want to be with them, and I have no idea how I can make this possible.
"It has been hard for me to be so far away from them, I have only seen Ava on the phone and I worry that she will not recognise me when we are finally reunited.
"Emma and I are hurting so much, it has been horrible, but we will never give up as we love each other very much.
"The thought that I couldn’t be with them when Ava was born is so hurtful to me, I just want to hold her, my heart is broken.
"The pain is more than anyone can ever imagine, all I want is to be together with my family and never leave them.”