Afghan, Eritrean and Sudanese boys are on the move again, but this time it’s a happy occasion: After months of hardship traversing continents, the teenage refugees are finally on the way to English homes where they can settle down for a long dreamed-of life in Europe. These unaccompanied child refugees have come to the end of a long, risky journey by boat, foot, truck and train.
Europe’s migrant crisis has seen a record surge of unaccompanied child asylum seekers fleeing civil war, conscription and poverty at home to countries including Britain and Sweden, which have scrambled to provide care for thousands of newly arrived minors. Most are boys aged between 14 to 18 hailing from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sudan.
“I’m happy to leave today,” said Sadiq, a shy 17-year-old Sudanese, who said he wanted to become an engineer. Like the other youngsters, Sadiq had made it to Europe alone after leaving behind his family, and may never see his loved ones again. He lowered his head when asked about his homeland, where a years-long conflict has killed thousands and driven millions from their homes. “Since I left I have had no information, I don’t know anything about my family. I’m very sad because of that, but what can I do?”
For the children, Europe is s a ticket to a dramatically improved future. “I want to continue my education here–back home I couldn’t go to school. I miss (my family), but no, I wouldn’t want to go back,” said Simon, 16, who left his parents and seven siblings in Eritrea.