A 16-year-old girl who captured the hearts of a school community has written a heartfelt letter about her struggle against deportation.

Ann Bashir, a student at Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove, is facing deportation alongside her mother and sister after their claim for asylum was rejected.

The family fled Sudan in 2020, fearing persecution due to their religious and political beliefs.

In the letter, Ann described her time in Sudan as a "nightmare that can never be forgotten".

The Argus: Hundreds of candles were laid at the vigil on Tuesday eveningHundreds of candles were laid at the vigil on Tuesday evening (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

It comes as Ann's school banded together to show support for her, mounting a campaign to "save our student".

Students at the school have created a petition which has received more than 4,000 signatures.

And this week they held a candlelit vigil in the school's chapel to shine a light on her situation.

A letter from Ann was read at this vigil on Tuesday by one of her teachers, Georgia Neale.

It highlighted the reasons why she fled the country, leaving behind her father who has not been heard from since their arrival in the UK.

It is thought he has been killed or imprisoned.

The letter said:

Firstly, I would like to thank the house captains for their support in helping me fight my family's threat of deportation. 

We were living a safe life before things became worse in my home country of Sudan. 

During 2018, the president Omar Al Bashir started to frustrate the country through his strict rules.

People had had enough of 30 years of dictatorship…arrests of political opponents, lack of freedom, poverty, hunger and high unemployment.

Sudanese people are scared of the Janjaweed - the secret service that was supported by the militia. 

Demonstrations started daily, right across the country calling for a civilian government with transparent electricians. 

We, as a family, joined these peaceful protests, wanting to to voice our concerns. 

Al Bashir’s services oppressed the demonstrations with violence and tear gas - people died and most of us were injured. 

Despite the violence we didn’t give up an we continued to demonstrate. 

Since 2018 we were unable to live safely in Sudan. 

We lived in fear of terrorism during this time. We feared being killed, raped, threatened with detention…and other things words can’t describe. 

But we never regretted that we stood up for freedom and justice for ourselves and country. 

Whenever we remember what happened to us in Sudan we describe it as a “nightmare that can never be forgotten”.

The family arrived in the United Kingdom by air in 2020 and have been on the road to claiming asylum since.

However, this claim was rejected by the Home Office in November 2022, saying their fears were "not well-founded".

The Argus: Ann Bashir and her fatherAnn Bashir and her father (Image: Supplied)

Ann joined Cardinal Newman in 2022 to study for her GCSEs.

She arrived with a very basic grasp of English, and is now studying for both her language and literature qualifications.

She wants to become a psychiatrist for children suffering from trauma when she grows up.

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This comes after Ann wrote a heartfelt letter to her friends in Year 11, which was read out in a private assembly on Monday.

"I do say that I am fine every single day, but is that right?

No, it is not right.

People will never be able to feel the same way I am feeling, unless they are experiencing the same thing.

"The darkness inside me is not because I want to live like this, but it is because life is throwing so much at me and I have no control over any of it.

"But, I will never give up.

"I will keep fighting and fighting."