“I decided to escape to help my family”

My name is Rabie, I’m 15 years old and I came from Syria to Sweden.
The reason that I left Syria was mostly because of the war, but also because my father’s salary could’nt support our family. The question was who would leave, me or my dad? It was easier for me to go, because my dad could not afford to quit his job.
My life in Syria was not so good, beacause of the war, so I decided to escape to help my family. I could’nt stay because I had no future in my country. It did’nt matter what would happen on the road, I had nothing to lose.
My trip started from Damascus to Aleppo and then from Aleppo to Idlib. I remember  lots of people and a big mountain. We had to cross the mountain to the other side to get to the Turkish border.
The smuggler helped us and we tried to hide from the Turkish police. Suddenly a driver told us to jump into a car. He told us that we would be able to cross the border. He drove very quickly and the road was dangerous. It felt like the car would roll over. I was very scared. Eventually we arrived in Turkey. Then I went by bus for 15 hours until I arrived in Izmir.
It was expensive to live in Izmir. I stayed for five days. I often went to a café to meet the smuggler and we made plans how to proceed. A taxi took me to a forrest and then a beach. I remember that it was a difficult road because we had to take care of elderly people along the way.
We took a boat to Greece. We ran out of gasoline in the middle of the ocean. Some of us jumped from the boat.Turkish police came and grabbed us. They treated us very badly. They threw away our things and some even lost their passports.
They took us to a big house, that looked like a prison. Inside we found the Turkish military. We had to sign a paper that we could’nt stay in Turkey. We were told that we had a maximum of one week to leave the country.
We talked to the other people in the house. Many told me that they would not fly in a small boat, but a bigger one. I did’nt have that option, as it was much more expensive. Some of us decided to try a small boat again. But I was afraid all the time.
I met a lot of people along the way, both in Syria and in Turkey. I was afraid all the time. But we were lucky that we met a person we knew from Syria who is a smuggler in Turkey.
He helped us and gave us a good price for the trip through the ocean. The second attempt succeeded. I do’nt remember anything, because I slept on my boat for the whole trip. We arrived at the beach in Greece and not to any island. We stayed in tents and the next day we bought boat tickets and went to Athens. We arrived and took the bus to Hungary and then to Macedonia.
We had to walk for a long time.
When we arrived at the Hungarian border, it was locked with barbed wire. The Hungarian military first said that we could’nt get in. The only way they would let us in was if we accepted a train ticket to another country.
We stepped into the fog, but there was not much space. We were so many. We went the train for 3-4 hours. We arrived at a place and there was food and drink. Then we started walking and on the way there were people who handed out fruit and blankets if someone froze. It was very cold and it was at night.
There was a lot of water and clay on the ground. We took a taxi to Austria. We arrived at the train station in Austria and wanted to buy a ticket but there were a lot of people. We stayed at the station for two days and then we managed to buy a ticket to Germany, then Denmark and finally Sweden. I’m lucky that my uncle lives in Sweden and he helps me most of the time. I’m happy and right now I’m stopping and working. My school is a good school and it goes well with the language. But still I notice differences in language, compared to my classmates born here. The difference is that classmates only need to study for 30 minutes and I need at least two hours or more. I miss my friends in Syria. I often think that if I were with them now, what would we have found. But mostly I think of my little brother, because I went to school with him. I always think of him and of course my parents.

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