I am 20 years old. I was born in Eritrea in 2002. I am the only child of my parents – I have no siblings.

My father was in the police. He was going to quit his job and travel to Sudan, and when they found out about this he was arrested in 2004. I didn’t hear anything about him for two years after that. He re-appeared in 2006, but then he was re-arrested. This was the last time I saw him.

After this my mother, my aunt and I moved, for our safety, to Sudan. I was very happy there – it was my home.

My mother died in 2011, and my auntie looked after me from this time onwards.

In 2018 my best friend (who was like a brother to me) took part in a demonstration against the administration, demanding that the regime should go, and protesting the economic situation in the country.

He was murdered, right in front of the army headquarters, during Ramadan in 2019. After this, I felt that I had to participate in the demonstrations as well, in his memory.

I was personally targeted by the rapid support force. One day they just chased me, and hit me with their car. They followed me deliberately, having previously warned me not to take part in this kind of demonstration because “You’re not Sudanese – you’re not from here.” My hand was broken and the nerve was severed.

I need an operation, and after this was left with large scars on my arm, and pain in my arm and hand.

I really didn’t want to leave Sudan, but my auntie told me that it wasn’t safe for me to stay any more. She said: They killed your friend, and now they are going to kill you as well.

So, in 2021, I left for Chad, then Libya, and on to Italy on a plastic dinghy. It was a long and exhausting journey. We were picked up by a ship but at the time we were still in African, not European, waters. Eight hours later we passed into Italian water, and came to shore.

I spent four months in Italy.  My auntie was relieved and happy. I was planning to settle there, but I didn’t get any medical treatment or support from the government for accommodation or claiming asylum.

I spent three months in a camp, in Sicily. It was very isolated and in a remote area. We were under armed guard and there were no medical facilities or a doctor. So I travelled to Rome, but there was no accommodation there at all, so I was living on the streets.

Finally, they told me that I wouldn’t get any treatment there. So my auntie advised me to continue to a country where I could get the medical treatment I needed – such as France or the UK.

An agent was charging 50 euros to help people get from Italy to France by lorry. I only had 20 euros, borrowed from a friend, so he told me I would have just one chance to get to France – if the attempt failed then they would not do anything more for me.

Once I finally got to France I had two choices. I could either get to the UK on a lorry or by boat. Travelling by lorry is quite risky: you could fall from the lorry and even die. Considering my arm injuries, I decided to go by boat. The agent first asked for 500 euros, which my auntie sent me, but then asked for 1,500 euros. Because I didn’t have it, I was again told that I would have just one chance to reach the UK.

We waited three days in a wood to get onto the boat, with no food, water or any facilities. When the boat turned up, we had to carry it for an hour to get to the sea. Despite my hand injury I still had to do this.

After about an hour we got to the sea, in a place where there was no police presence.

After a long time on the sea some of the people on the boat checked the location using their iPhones, and realised we had gone wrong. Eventually we were found by a French ship, and they guided us to Dover.

It was a tiring and frightening boat journey. As soon as I got here, I was relieved.

Now, most of the time I think about my auntie. I have no-one in the UK, no family, siblings or mum. I keep thinking about everything my auntie did to pay for my journey. Now, she can’t even afford to buy food – she never told me this, but her son did. I feel helpless and hopeless because I can’t give her anything back. It is very hard.

I am also very worried about my arm injury. A doctor in Sudan told me that I would need another operation, otherwise I might lose the movement in my hand.

At school my hobbies were all sports. I played with a couple of football teams, in attack, and I am hoping to carry on playing football in the UK, as long as my hand injuries don’t stop me. In the meantime I am running to prepare myself and keep physically fit.

I play in attack. My favourite British team is Chelsea, and am now registered with a team in Solihull where I am now living. I met the coach and he has my number, so I hope he is going to call me back.

I’m grateful for the support I have received from Migrant Help. Sameera is a Community Liaison Coordinator with Migrant Help. She has encouraged me to enrol in Solihull College – I am now making really good progress learning English. She has done a lot for me. She has supported me, communicates with me, took us on a visit to Wales and also gave me a bike.

People like me had to leave our countries because we faced many difficulties, and risked our lives. I had to leave my country and lost most of my friends on this journey – I could have lost my own life too.

I’d like to go back to Sudan one day, if it was safe for me. But it isn’t at present. People like me just want to feel secure and live happy lives.