[Image 1: A blurry picture of a black woman in a purple hijab, smiling]
Part 17 of a series of posts honoring the Grenfell Tower victims.
The Elsanosi -Ahmed family, from the 23rd floor of
Fathia Ali Ahmed Elsanosi, 77 years old, was a primary school teacher who came to Britain as a refugee after her husband was killed in Sudan in the ‘80s. She was a loving and hard-working mother who was well-known among the Sudanese community in London, and was a very artistic person, creating her own Sudanese thobes and upcycling old clothes. She packed her flat with art, antiques and plants.
Her friend Wafa said at the inquiry,
“She was creative at sewing and it was a source of income for her… She could stitch material to make beautiful saris. She would also create things from leather and decorate plain shoes and handbags with leather items she had made.”
Two of her five children, Isra (33, some sources spell her
name as Esra) and Abufars (39) died alongside her. Abufars didn’t live in the tower, but was visiting his mother and sister for Ramadan. He was a keen businessman who had recently opened a fishmongers with his brother. “He was a lovely boy. He was a very hard worker, but very supportive to his mum, always caring about her,” a family friend, Wafa Hussein Osman, said at the inquiry.
Isra was a charity volunteer, her brother Abubak said. “She
enjoyed giving without taking anything back, because I think what she was
taking is the ultimate prize that somebody can get, which is seeing the
happiness from others,”
Isra loved Brighton and the funfair rides there, as well as
animals and food. She was married to Said Essaouini, a man she met in 2014 at an internet café. He spoke about his loss to the Grenfell inquiry, under pictures which he had drawn of her. “I’m a very lucky man that I had such a beautiful flower in my life,” he said. “I will never find a woman like
her ever, ever, and I am ripped to pieces… I feel like I lost my world. Every Friday I go to the cemetery and I sit down and I talk to her for two hours – I know she is listening to me.” He added that he believed Isra could have potentially escaped the fire, but “she would never leave her mum.”
Fathia’s sister Hayat also released a statement to the inquiry:
“Fathia came to this country as a refugee seeking security and safety after her struggle with the regime in Sudan, where she and her children had been subjected to harassment.
“She felt safe here in London. Because of the way she died, this now feels like an illusion for us and definitely for her.
“Our trust in this country has been destroyed. I cannot begin to describe my life without my sister, her death was a terrible shock for me and I find it very difficult to cope without her.”
There aren’t any pictures of Isra or Abufars, unfortunately.