I escaped my beloved home country, Sudan, when my village was destroyed by the Janjaweed in 2014. The journey to the UK was long, lonely and absolutely terrifying. I left Darfur on 28 August 2014 and fled through Egypt, before crossing the Mediterranean Sea in a small, overcrowded boat full of complete strangers. I didn’t know anyone; I was completely alone and scared.
Before we took to the sea, we knew that other boats had sunk and people had drowned, but we were so desperate that we got in anyway – it was worth the risk. The boat wasn’t safe. It started to take on water and in the end we had to be rescued by a bigger ship, which took us to shore. We finally reached Italy in September 2014, after 13 days at sea.
I then made my way from Italy to a refugee camp in France, where I spent many months.
I was physically and emotionally exhausted, but still I knew I had to keep going. After many unsuccessful attempts, I managed to get across to Dover, by hiding underneath a lorry and clinging on to the wheel axle all the way through the Channel Tunnel.
I was physically and emotionally exhausted, but still I knew I had to keep going
I volunteered myself to the police when we reached Dover and I was taken to an immigration centre, where I spent three days before being sent to London. From London, I went to Birmingham, before finally ending up in Wolverhampton.
When I was finally granted asylum, I was given 28 days to move out of my government- provided accommodation. Once again, I was alone and homeless. I sofa-surfed with another asylum seeker for a while, but then his asylum was granted, we knew our time had run out again and we would soon have nowhere to go.
Thankfully, we were housed in a home run by Hope into Action: Black Country. For the first time in years I felt safe. I had a home, I belonged somewhere – it was an amazing feeling.
The frightening things I experienced on my journey to this point still linger in my mind – and it’s scary to think of what could have turned out differently. The war in Sudan has made life a desperate struggler, with no education and no opportunity for young men like me to fulfil our potential or to plan for any sort of future. That’s why people are risking their lives to get to the UK; it feels like their only hope.
Coming to the UK was incredibly risky, but it was absolutely worth it for the life I have now. I’m studying English and preparing to go to university in September to study engineering.
Obviously it’s hard being here by myself; without any of my family, who I miss dreadfully. I worry about my family and friends back home in Sudan. Luckily, I have been able to stay in contact with them and they tell me that hey are happy that I made it, that I’m safe here in the UK and that they’re proud of me for what I’m doing with my life.