We work with separated child refugees – traumatised children who arrive all alone in the UK. We help young boys and girls who have lost their families to move on from the isolation and instability that has haunted their lives, so they can focus on building for the future. Refugee Council Education and Youth Activity Coordinator Joe Jakes reflects on one boy’s story.
Adnan,*a 15 year old boy from Syria, joined us for a residential trip to Somerset last year. He had only just started coming to us for help. On the coach down, he refused to wear his seat belt. I explained to him that it was important to wear it, that it was important for his safety. He became very distressed, and refused. He said he didn’t care about being safe, he wanted to die. He felt he had nothing to live for.
During the trip, I kept a close eye on Adnan, I was worried about what he’d said. I was so glad to see him relax, become more at peace, make friends and even laugh. When we got back he came to me and said he’d changed his mind, he felt now that it was better to live than to die.
That’s why our work is so important. We give child refugees the opportunity to be seen and heard, to express themselves without fear and to make friends.
More children like Adnan need us all the time. If we aren’t there for them, I worry who will be.
Please help me give more children a little joy and hope. For some, it means the difference between life and death. For others, it simply means having somewhere safe to go. For so many, it’s what gives them the faith and self-belief to go on and build a better life.