Jabir and his cousin were just 14 when they were forced to flee their home in Afghanistan to try and reach safety with their Aunt in the UK. Life in the Calais camp was lonely and could be violent but now he is settled at school in England and making new friends.

“No-one looked after us in the camp, except the volunteers who gave us food and clothes. In the jungle it’s horrible, the worst place ever. You feel very lonely and you don’t have anyone to solve your problems. You just want to cry every day. In England the police take care of you but in Calais, they hate you.”

“The volunteers from Safe Passage UK looked for me at the youth centre and found me. They asked if we had family in the UK and if I would be happy to go and live with them. They spoke to my Aunty but then it took a very, long time for me to come here, about 4 months, and then I left for England on the train.

When I saw my Aunty and Uncle at the station, I felt that was the best time ever. I felt very safe and very, very happy. Now I live in Manchester in my Aunty’s house and I have my own bedroom and I am at school. I was a bit nervous but it’s very good and interesting and it’s nice to meet new friends.

At the camp youth centre there was only 1 teacher and 50 students and they haven’t got time to teach the ABC. A friend at the camp couldn’t speak any English – he went to classes at the centre but he just couldn’t learn. The teachers came for just a week in their holiday. They changed every week and it was difficult to keep finding new teachers to come.

I know what it is like for other children in the jungle. I know how they feel and I really want for them to come here and have a good life. The best thing for me is that I can speak English. Lots and lots of boys in the camp can’t say, ‘Can you give me this?’.

I was in the jungle for nearly a year without proper food and with no sleep. I didn’t have a life there. Now I go to sleep at 9pm, get up at 7am, I eat and I go to school. Now I have everything I need. Thank you so much for helping me.”

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