From Eritrea to sleeping on the street in the UK

Anthony was born in Eritrea. When he was 10 his father died and his mother, who was sick, decided to send him to stay with an uncle who lived in Sudan, to save him from being called up for military service. “My father was a soldier, that’s how he died, in combat. My mum wanted to save my life, stop me from ending up the same way.”

Anthony worked for three years in his uncle’s bar, often for gruelling long hours and without ever going to school: “My uncle sent his children to school, but not me.”

The treatment he received from his uncle became even more harsh when Anthony’s mother, who had never recovered from her sickness, died. The boy could see his dreams vanishing day by day. He would have liked to study, have the chance of building a future, so, as soon as he was 14, he decided to run away in search of a place where he could study and grow up. “

Anthony came to Europe when he was little more than a child. He crossed it all alone, from the Mediterranean coasts as far as the United Kingdom. There he stopped and presented a request for political asylum and tried to attend a school.

He hadn’t imagined that it would be so hard to study in Great Britain as well: “A teacher told me that as soon as I had obtained the status of refugee I would be able to attend a school”.

Anthony waited for five interminable years. When the reply came he found that his request had been turned down and that he was no longer eligible for any form of assistance. “Four or five of them took me,” the boy remembers, “and threw me out of the house, with all my belongings.”

“I’m leading a precarious sort of life. At times I have a bed to sleep on, other times I sleep in the street; sometimes I find something to eat and other times I don’t, and often there’s nowhere to have a shower.”

The Refugee Action association, who found out about him and have made his story known, are trying to help Anthony find a fixed place to stay and are helping him to re-present his request for political asylum.