“We were forced to flee”

My name is Saad and I’m 13 years old and I’m from Syria. I lived in Damascus, on Palestine Street. Then our flight to different cities in Syria started off, it were many bombs and shots. We had to flee to live a better life.

My dad talked to me about fleeing from Syria, but my mother hesitated first. I told my mother that nothing will happen to me and I’ll be there within two months. This was not my decision, but it was my father’s decision.
Me and my brother fled together, we met the whole family at the airport and said goodbye to family and friends. We flew to Libya. The airport in Libya was old and ruined. Then we went to a town called Zwara. We met the smuggler and got to sit in a house with others. There were mattresses, some rested. We stayed in the house for two hours. Then there came two smugglers who informed us that there was a trip over the sea. We arrived at the beach and I sat with my grandmother in the boat and my brother was at the beach.

We sat in a dinghy to take us to the wooden boat. We arrived at the wooden boat, but then the driver regretted that would return because he did not agree with the smuggler. The smugglers shot him and chose another driver.
We went with the boat for a whole day. The next day there was a hole in the boat and it took water. We took our bottles and started emptying the boat. I was nervous and afraid. I thought I was going to drown. I did not want my parents to be sad over me.

We had given up hope and some were prepared to die, but eventually came a rescue boat and helped us to Italy. It took us a whole day. In the end we arrived at the Italian coast. They took us to a sports hall and we stayed for a week. There were policemen outside the sports hall so nobody could accommodate, but we managed to escape from there.

We could only speak English. We managed to get to the central station and met with an Arab family who took us to the mosque where we stayed one day. Next day they helped us. We took the train to another city as I do not remember what it was called. Then we took the train to Germany, Denmark and finally we arrived in Sweden.
In Sweden, I lived with a brother in a refugee hotel and my grandmother lived with my aunt. We were staying at the hotel until we got home a letter that we should move to Stockholm. But we did not want it because it was far there and lay north.

They sent us to another city called Örkelljunga. There I lived together with my brother in a room. I stayed there for seven or eight months. Then the authorities decided that I could not live with my brother because of all of them smoked and that is not good for you. They sent me to my aunt and said that I would get a residence permit when I moved there. They said that then your parents can come here. I waited three months for my residence permit. After 2 years my parents came to Sweden.

Right now I feel good because I’m with my parents. I have had new friends and it feels good in a new country. I miss most of my relatives, my grandmother and uncles. I would love to return if the war had ended.

A Million Stories Sweden: Nizar Keblawi, Nina Olsson, Sara Sarabi, Malin Gillberg, Daniel Björklund, Mats Nordström.

A Million Stories Sweden volunteers: Fariborz Ghadir, Mohamad Mohsin, Yazan Saad, Tarek Aloudallah, Dalia Saleem, Yara Ali, Ahmad Younes, Chaimae Hamri.

In association with



Dublin Core: Language: swe Subject: asylum, refugees, A Million Stories, Sweden