Daniel, 20, refugee: “Inside me, an endless tragedy”

Daniel arrived in Europe from West Africa. He was only 16 when a taxi set him down outside the building of the Scottish Refugee Council. At that time Daniel was completely alone in a strange world, he just about knew where he was and he didn’t speak a single word of English.

“I arrived in the UK accompanied by a man. He brought me from Africa to London and then on to Glasgow. At the station he paid for a taxi to take me to the SRC and left. Before leaving Africa I had never seen that man, it had been my uncle who had entrusted me to him, in order to save me. My father was a member of an opposition party and so he got away before the government could have him killed, but government agents came looking for him in our apartment, they arrested me, my mother and my brother and set our house on fire. They locked us up in a prison, then my mother was moved and I never saw her again. I don’t even know what happened to my brother, I managed to escape because my uncle knew one of the guards, but he didn’t manage to get us both free.”

Daniel was assigned to the social services and for eight months lived in a place for the homeless. Then after a few interviews at the Home Office he decided to fill in a questionnaire for those seeking political asylum.

“I didn’t realize how important it was to obtain asylum, ‘asylum’ was a word that confused me. I was a young chap, I was scared and my only thought was that I wanted to return home. Now I have revolutionized my life, I have been through school and I have a professional qualification, but what I’ve been through is always in my thoughts. Even now that things are going a bit better I still carry this endless tragedy inside me.”

Today Daniel is 20, lives in Glasgow and he has been granted political asylum. He decided to share his story through the Scottish Refugee Council, hoping that other people could get some help by reading it. The Red Cross is helping him to find his family.