Faiz’s story: the boy who wanted to believe in himself again - Refugee Council
December 5, 2023

Faiz’s story: the boy who wanted to believe in himself again

This winter, our Believe campaign shows our supporters how their donations can empower refugee children to believe in themselves. Through the story of 15-year-old Faiz*, who was forced to make a dangerous journey to the UK, we are raising awareness of the dangers refugee children experience when fleeing conflict and the challenges they encounter when reaching the UK. You can read more about the campaign here.

Refugee children are forced to make dangerous journeys in search of safety Refugee children are forced to make dangerous journeys in search of safety

Faiz had no choice but to embark on a long and dangerous journey to the UK as conflict in Afghanistan had already claimed the life of his brother. Bundled into a lorry and feeling terrified, Faiz travelled on his own for several weeks, through land and sea. He had nothing to eat for several days, apart from a packet of biscuits. Without proper food and shelter, Faiz often had to sleep outdoors, wearing only a bin bag to keep dry.

“I am feeling so alone… and I cannot sleep. I am having negative ideas, due to the way I have lost my elder brother.”

Refugee children need you to believe in them this winter

This winter thousands of refugee men, women and children are rebuilding their lives in the UK. Show them you believe in them.


After everything he endured, Faiz hoped to reach safety and sanctuary here. Unfortunately, when Faiz arrived in the UK, the authorities didn’t believe he was a child and accused him of lying about his age. This led to Faiz being placed in hotel accommodation with adults instead of with children his own age. He felt alone and frightened.

“ There are 10 beds in one room, I cried all night. There is one man, he threw my bag, and said get out!”

A hotel worker recognised how distressed Faiz was feeling and gave him a phone number for the Refugee Council. After speaking with a caseworker from our Age Disputes Project, he felt listened to for the first time in a long time. Faiz was relieved to be put into accommodation with children his own age, where he feels much safer.

With your help, we can be there for the young people we work with and show them they are not alone. You can make refugee children like Faiz feel welcome by sending them a message of support.

Share a message of compassion with refugees

With a few simple words you can help someone feel welcome, write a message and we’ll share it with the refugees we support.

Send a message of hope to refugees

Our services provide therapy sessions that help Faiz build his resilience. With our support, he is learning English and gaining social skills. It’s only thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we can be there to pick up the phone. Support us with a donation so we can be there for more children like Faiz. ■

*Faiz’s words are all real, but his story has been drawn from several real-life accounts from refugee children to safeguard their identities and families.