Adem, a refugee from Ethiopia, with his family

My name is Adem. I am a refugee from Ethiopia.

I grew up in a beautiful region in Oromia, the Bale Mountains. My country has a lot of political problems and this has made life very difficult for Oromo people like me.

One day, I was arrested because of my political beliefs. I was really worried this would get my family into trouble. So I fled to Kenya, where I lived in a refugee camp. Then I worked in Nairobi as a waiter and shop assistant.

I found it hard to get in touch with my family back in Oromia. I tried to contact them through the Oromo community in Nairobi, but no-one knew where they were.

Eventually, someone told me my sister-in-law was living in Kenya too. I was so glad to see her again! She supported me and helped me study for a certificate in mechanics. But we never heard from the rest of our family.

Life in the camp was difficult. Neither my sister-in-law nor I could find proper work. We were worried about her children. They were growing up in the camp, but there was no future for them in Kenya.

We applied for resettlement because we wanted better opportunities for our family. The UK accepted us and we flew to Greater Manchester. Refugee Action met us at the airport, and they’ve given us help and advice ever since.

I’ve now been in the UK for almost a year. I think British people are wonderful. The big difference I see in this country is that people like peace. They respect one another and they have civil rights.

I’ve learnt that it’s very difficult to get a job here without qualifications. I’m looking for work, but I’m also learning English and applying to study Maths at university. I’d like a career using Maths one day.

I still haven’t been able to contact the rest of my family.