My name is Zaker and I want to write about one of the refugees that lives in Finland today. Zaker isn’t his real name but he’s from Afghanistan. He’s 17 years old.
“I was born in Afghanistan but when I was 1 year old my family immigrated to Iran.
I was deported from Iran to Afghanistan when I was 15 in 2014 because I didn´t have residence card even if I had lived in that country almost all my life.
I went to my cousin’s house in Ghazni when I returned back to Afghanistan. After about one month, I forced to flee Afghanistan. When I arrived in Tehran, my father told me that you can’t stay here because you don’t have a residence permit. They may deport you again to Afghanistan and this time you may lose you life, he said.
My father sent me to Europe with my cousin because I was a minor at that time. We went to the Turkish border and after a 24-hour walk, we went to Itanbul. Our next destination was Greece. We had to wait about a month in Turkey before we could enter Greece. We ended up at the Greek-Turkish sea coast. At the beach, there were about 120 refugees from Syria and Afghanistan. We all got in a small ship. The sea was stormy.
I think after one or two hours after we left the beach our ship broke down after a big wave hit it and caused all the refugees to fall in the sea. I was crying and called out for my cousin but I didn’t find him. After thirty minutes, a Greek coast guard ship came and rescued us. I think thirty of us survived.
I continued to look for my cousin but coudln’t find him on the ship that rescued us. The Greek Coast Guard took us to an island where we waited for about three days on the beach. The coastal guard brought corpses to the beach.
I searched among these coprses but couldn’t find my cousin.
The Coast Guard told me that I should stop looking for my cousin because some corpses are never found at sea.
One woman police officer bought tickets for me to go to Athens. She bought me clothes as well.
When I arrived in Athens, I felt poor and alone.
I slept in the park and I was afraid to call my family and break them the news about what happened to my cousin. After a few days, I told my family what had happened to my cousin.
I lived in a park for about three or four months. After that, I moved to Argos to work in a farm picking oranges. I made about 1,000 euros in three or four months. I then moved back to Athens with some friends. I decided to move to a more developed country in Europe.
When I left Athens I got to the Macedonia border. It was cold. We tried many times to cross into Macedonia but the police of that country wouldn’t let us in. We stayed at the border for more than one month; I lost my money and phone.
I returned back to Athens and my life started to get worse. My “home” in Athens was the parks and streets. I said to myself that I have to make money again and go to Northern Europe. All of this happened in October and I got to Finland in November.
I had heard a lot of good things about Finland. It was a country that respected human rights and freedom, I think it’s true, but thsee things only to citizens of Finland, not for us asylum seekers. Even so, I have to thank the government of Finland because I now have refuge and a roof over my head.
I have a reques of Finland. It’s to the government and its people: ‘Please listen to our voices that seek refuge in your land.'”