“I had no childhood”

My name is Anwar and comes from Basra, southern Iraq.

Life was difficult in Iraq and I left school when I was only a child. I was 11 years old when I started working as a mechanic.

I had no childhood, I worked all the time. Ever since I was 15-16 years old, I dreamed about leaving Iraq. I told my family and my neighbors that I’m going to leave Iraq. Then came the opportunity and I fled to Turkey.

I lived in Turkey for 2 years and had a child there. God gave me a daughter called Rimas. Daddy’s girl. Life was also difficult in Turkey. I worked 24 hours a day and earned 25 Turkish lira, about 100 Swedish kronor. The work was not good for my health. I became very tired. I was told that many fled to Germany, Sweden, Austria, Holland, Belgium, France and London. I was told that the road is open via the sea to Greece. I lived in the city of Amasia and all families fled to Europe.

One of my big dreams was to go to Europe. The smuggler told me about a nice yacht and said everything will go well. He was right about the yacht. I paid 2600 euros and we were 87 people.  The yacht had 3 small floors.

There were two drivers on board, one from Italy and one from Spain. The yacht at 12 at night and we arrived in Greece at 9 am. Before we got off the boat we had to swim 15 meters until we reached land. I had to hold a child 6 or 7 months old and swim at the same time, while her dad took care of his wife. Then we arrived in Greece. I thank God that the police received us and that they were very nice.

Sometimes when I walk by the sea in Malmö and hear the waves, It reminds me of the difficult journey. The hardest route from Greece to Sweden was the journey through Hungary. It was even harder than travelling through the ocean.

I am currently studying at SFI in Malmo. There are many Arab associations in Malmö, that help the Arab people. They have different activities such as poetry, festivals and other cultural activities. I like poetry, culture, media and acting. I go to all of these activities.

This is my life: my studies, activities, training and my home. I think I’m living a good life right now. What I miss the most is my home country, that I have’nt seen in 4 years. I miss it a lot. I miss my dad, my family, I miss my daughter. I miss all that reminds me of Iraq and all good things in Iraq. I can summarize it in one sentence: I miss the sand in Iraq.

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: sv Subject: asylum, refugees, A Million Stories, Sweden