I am Bewar, a 26 year old Kurdish man from Kurdistan and I have been in UK for 13 years. I am from a large, poor family and life was ok but hard for all of us. We had our ups and downs but I didn’t really have to worry about anything. Then life became difficult with the war and my brothers in the army so my family had to move to safety to Kurdistan. In 2005 my family sent me to UK - my mother wanted me to have a better chance and be something. It was so hard to say goodbye and leave them.
I was only 14 years old and had a very difficult journey here with some other Kurdish people from Kurdistan to Turkey then Turkey to Greece then Greece to France , France to UK…all on boats and lorries.
We had to pay a lot of money to come here - more than £10,000. The conditions were very, very bad …you know when people say “we’ll send you to UK and you’ll be alright…it’snot at all true. They put us in a boat …and the boat flooded …it was a struggle to be honest…you know I was regretting it ..when we got to Turkey and I saw the water…I was crying, thinking ‘I wish someone could see us now and just send us back home’.Those guys can do anything because they have guns ..they could kill you and tell your family “ I’m sorry he’s drowned” …
The agents put four of us in a lorry …at first it was ok, nice and cool…then because of the steam it got so bad, the lorry then broke down and we were not let out. I couldn’t breathe properly....we were too close to dying…We kept hitting the side, hitting, hitting until someone finally came and got us out … if that man had not come we would all have died.
Because I was so young, many times I was not safe …by the time you come here you meet many people and one or two they even tried to assault me both on the way and in UK.We were in a big park in France and one day a lady came …she used to bring food and stuff and she said “you’re too young …you can come and I’ll take you somewhere”. She took me to social services in France and they put me in foster care until I left for UK.
I stayed in Coventry 3 or 4 years with two different families as I suffered from bullying in the first family. At that time I could not speak a word of English so I used to be unfairly blamed for things and I could not speak up for myself .It affected me mentally and sent me crazy because of all the bad things that happened to me. At that time I did drink too much just to try and block out everything.
Since moving to Blackburn in 2009 it has not been at all easy to move forward with my life. I could not get work and there was nothing to keep me occupied. I did suffer from depression and anxiety and anger too which sometimes got me into trouble and has held me back. These days I do feel better and I do manage …or else I could not survive but on the other hand I do feel stuck and wish I could build a good life here as quickly as I see some others have done.
My family have had too high expectations of me – they think it’s easy here and I should be able to send money back home so it does make me feel I have failed them. But I keep contact with my family… I can’t wait to see them. I’m just waiting for my travel documents to come back. I long to see my Mum because she’s living alone now and she told me “all I want is to see is you …”.
ARC has helped me a lot. I come here nearly every day just to see people and to kill the time and to stay safe and out of trouble because I don’t have anybody else to go to. I learn English, do job search and meet many nice people.They will help you with anything if they can and if they can’t they will send you to the right people. I also like to help them, I do little jobs around and nowadays I sometimes do interpreting for friends and go with them to appointments. I’m now really ready to build a good life here. I recently managed to find my first job and although that did not work out, I hope to find another one soon and get on well with my life.