by Caroline O'Connor

He was taught to load an AK-47 with his feet when he was 6 years old... during the Kosovan War in case his family was attacked. When he was 11, his father sent him away, across the Adriatic Sea and through Europe to seek safety in the UK.

When I met him, he was in foster care and attending secondary school. Dritan Kastrati flourished in his performing arts classes, particularly in drama. He dreamt of making a career in the arts. He was charismatic, kind and funny, and an extraordinary storyteller. When you met him, you not only felt certain that he was destined to do great things but that he had already achieved so much, simply in order to survive.

(Image source: Timeout)

Dritan co-wrote and performed in his autobiographical play, How Not To Drown at the Edinburgh Festival last year. He tells his own story of his journey and his time in the UK care system in. Here is a link to the website where you can see the trailer.

My favourite line from the review in the Scotsman is:

“What is truly stunning, though, is the richness of detail that helps us understand the intense culture of family loyalty and community from which Dritan comes, and what he therefore has to bring – in wisdom, strength and love – to our much more atomised and cash-driven society.”

We have much to learn, if we only listen