IFRC

An epic, perilous journey for a teenage boy travelling alone

Published: 12 August 2015 12:45 CET

By Andreea Anca, IFRC

Ebrahim is a 20-year-old man from Iran who currently lives in the UK. His story is a tale of exile and tragic separation from his family, as well as struggle to start a new life.

The events of his young life served as inspiration for a comic produced by the British Red Cross in 2014. In 2012 Ebrahim was also cast in the “Leave to Remain” film produced by Bafta winner Bruce Goodison, based on the real stories of teenagers seeking asylum in Britain.

“The experiences I’ve had are not always easy for me to talk about but I really felt it was important to share my story,” says the young man who now has a place to study for a degree in International Business at Brunel University.

Ebrahim is also volunteering for the British Red Cross Refugee Services department, working as a befriender to young refugees and asylum seekers in London.

“There are some preconceptions about asylum seekers and refugees, and I hope this comic helps to challenge them,” he says. “We are just people who want to be safe and be happy, like everybody else.”

Epic journey  

Ebrahim has come a long way since he arrived in the UK alone at the age of 15. He had survived an epic journey that started in Iran under the threat of persecution, when the authorities linked him to the political activities of his family.

“The experiences I’ve had are not always easy for me to talk about but I really felt it was important to share my story."

“The experiences I’ve had are not always easy for me to talk about but I really felt it was important to share my story."

His flight from Iran set him off on a perilous journey into the unknown. “The moment I had to say goodbye to my mum and leave Iran alone, my world ended,” he says. “I had never been so scared and I didn’t know if I would survive.”

Led by human traffickers he crossed the mountains into Turkey at night on foot with 20 other people. Ebrahim spent the journey crying after he witnessed the brutality of the traffickers beating anyone who dared slow down. He says that women were also raped in front of their children. “They were like animals. I wanted to go back.”

When they arrived in Turkey the traffickers took his ID, watch and mobile phone, and gave him tablets to stop him urinating before loading him into the back of a truck. After 15 days on the road, Ebrahim got off the truck to see that cars drove on the left side of the road. This is when he realized he was in the UK.

“I miss my mum every day and if I could ever return to Iran and my family, I would,” he says.  “But while that isn’t possible, this country is my home and I am grateful for the protection the UK has given to me and to all the other people in my position.”

The British Red Cross works hard to build trust with young asylum-seekers and refugees. Stemming from the deep-seated believe that everyone should have someone to support them as they move into adulthood, the Red Cross pays particular attention to those who arrive to the UK separated from their families.

For more information on the British Red Cross services available to children and young people click here.

 




My Story

Map


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 190 member National Societies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. About this site & copyright