Our Journeys

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Ali’s Journey

My name is Ali and my journey started when I was 6 years old, and my family decided to move to London. Iraq. We play football and tag and it's more fun because in Iraq the kids are always fighting.

First, we went to Turkey by plane, where we found my dad’s cousin. He was going to get us to Greece on a boat. Before we could get on the boat, we had to sleep in the forest with a group of people. The leader was warning everyone not to make a sound or they would be shot by guards or hunters.

The boat was small and packed with 40 people. We were at sea for 2 hours and there was no space to move. Two boats tried to sink us on the way, but we saved ourselves. When we got to land in Greece, there were people waiting to help us and take us somewhere safe. We stayed in a camp for 2 months, sleeping on the floor in a big hall with other families next to us.

When my dad got to Britain, we followed him to the border. But the papers we were given in Greece were wrong, so it was harder to get in. I was happy and relieved when we got in, but also nervous because it was a new language and culture.

When I started at Hampstead School, I made a lot of Arab friends, so it felt the same as my school in

I miss my country a little bit because I left my Grandparents behind, but I am happier living here.

Ali’s Journey

My name is Ali. I am 12 years old, and I am from Iraq. I have two brothers and we live with our parents.

I spent the first 8 years of my life in Iraq. I lived in a small town that was pretty, and I went to school there. I didn’t like school because the teachers would punish us by hitting us and pulling our ears. But I had lots of friends to play with.

We had to leave Iraq because it was too dangerous to stay. One day we got on a balloon boat with many people on it. I heard babies and children crying. The journey to Greece took 8 hours, and the boat was rocking so much that I was sick a few times. At one point the waves were so harsh that I fell off the boat into the freezing water, but then someone pulled me back in.

Before we got onto the boat, we had to get rid of a lot of our things to make space for more people. Many of us only had a blanket to keep us warm.

The first day I came to the UK I saw a lot of new things, like the trains and the big red buses. In Iraq we didn’t have buses everywhere, but in London you could go anywhere you wanted, and the streets were so clean.

Now I live with my family in London. I feel so much safer being here and going to Hampstead School. I have many Arab friends like back home, and my teachers are very nice. They make me care about my future.

Abdallah’s Journey

I’m Abdallah and I was born in Iraq. I didn’t like Iraq very much because the town was so dirty and there were rocks everywhere. There were dogs and cats all over the streets. In school the teachers were mean, and the boys would always get into fights with each other, and they would even bring knives to school.

I hadn’t seen my dad in 5 years because he left on a boat to find a way to get us out of Iraq. One day, me and my family decided to follow him to London.

Now I live in Cricklewood with both my mum and dad and my brother and sister. London is so much different to back home. Like the only dogs outside are the ones walking with people. And the kids here are much nicer. I like school more now.

My best friends are Ali and Ali. We have a lot of fun.

Ameliia’s Journey

I'm Ameliia and I came to London from Ukraine. I'm 11 years old and in my family, there is my mum, dad, my sister, my dog and me. I was born in Zhytomyr, but I grew up in Kyiv. I remember almost everything about it, my area, my school, house, and the shops next to my house. Of course, I went to school there, and I was so friendly to everyone, and them to me, and I had many friends!

We left our country because the war started. I feel sad because I want to go back to my country and see my friends and relatives. When the war started, we left for Poland at 6 in the morning because there were really long traffic jams, and everyone was trying to leave. We were in Poland for one month as we waited for our Visa’s to go to London. Then, we drove through Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and finally we got to England.

We have now been in England for one year. On my first day in England, I was not so happy, but my parents said we won't be staying here long. London and Kyiv are so different and it's still hard for me to get used to. The first thing I noticed was that there were so many people who looked differently and spoke different languages, but in Ukraine it's not like this.

I can't say that “yes, I like Hampstead School” or “no, I don’t” because English School is very different to Ukrainian School where I had many friends, but here I don’t.

I really miss Ukraine and I hope that soon my family will go back home. I think right now I don’t have any plans for the future, only to go back home.

Muna’s Journey

My name is Muna, I’m 13 and I was born in Iraq. Iraq was so beautiful, and I remember being so happy there.

I had lots of friends. I went to school, and I loved to learn. I spent my free time with my friends studying and playing.

I had so many good memories of Iraq, but also some very scary ones. I could sometimes hear the war going on from my house, and my dad was starting to worry.

My dad had to come to London because there was no work anymore in Iraq. He moved us to another city a bit far from the war zone, hoping that we would be safe. I didn’t see my dad for many years after that. Finally, we went to join him.

We wanted to avoid having a difficult journey as much as we could. We took a plane from Iraq to Turkey, but then we were stranded there with no way forward, so we had to go back to Iraq.

We tried again, going to Qatar instead, and from Qatar to London.

When we landed in London, I could already see how different life was here and I was very sad. I felt alone because I didn’t have my friends anymore, and I couldn’t make new ones because I couldn’t speak English.

But when I started at Hampstead School, I started to learn English with the help of my teachers. I don’t feel that I’m alone anymore, because I have a lot of Arab friends like I did in Iraq, but I also have friends who are much different than me.

Fatima’s Journey

My name is Fatima. I'm 12 years old and I have two brothers and one sister. My journey started when my parents decided to move to a different country from Kuwait in case of another war. So, in 2016 my parents and I moved to Turkey for three months. The weather there was so hot, and the views were so amazing, we went to the beach, and we had a lot of fun. In the city we were in, there were a lot of free activities for us to do. It was kind of hard to speak their language, but sign language helped us. My dad left us there and went to England, and we would soon follow him.

Before we could go to England we had to go to Greece. We stayed there for six months. The first few months there were kind of hard for us, the weather was so cold, but we would still go to the beach and the park and even fancy restaurants. One time me and my mum went to a Christmas party, and they gave me a present, it was so fun. Once me and my mum had taken the bus and when we were getting off the bus the driver closed the door between me and my mum. The door even closed on my mum's hand and the driver wouldn’t open the door to let me get off and join her. He still refused to open the door so some men on the bus said they would call the police. After we got home, we tried to rest and just forget it.

After all this, we finally got on the boat with so many people. The boat was too small, so we had to sit on top of each other. The person driving the boat saw the police and said to flip the boat in case we got in trouble, but they stopped him because there were a lot of children in the boat who would not survive.

When we finally got to England, I was so excited to finally see my dad again after nearly a year.

Fajar’s journey

I’m Fajar, I'm 14, and I’m from Kuwait. I have two younger brothers and we live with our mum and dad.

I was born in Kuwait. I grew up in Kuwait, but I didn’t go to school there. It was hard to live there because we couldn’t make a lot of money, or at least not enough for what we needed to live.

My dad was already in the UK for work, and he decided to bring us to him. He came to take us to Jordan where we stayed for ten days- I liked Jordan because the houses were beautiful. We then took a plane to the UK.

It felt weird when we first landed because I wasn’t used to this new place. I looked at the kids who looked like me and was jealous that they could speak English and were able to make friends.

When I started at Hampstead School, I was 11 and it was my first time ever going to school. I felt sad because I knew nobody. The students would bully me and step on my feet in PE.

Now I'm in year 10, and I'm not scared anymore. I always try to look out for the younger Arab girls so that they never feel as alone as I did.

Malak’s Journey

My name is Malak, and I'm 13 years old. I was born in Egypt, a historic and peaceful country to live in. My dad Ahmed was born in England, and he would always tell us how much he loved living in London. My mum was fully Egyptian, but she didn’t mind moving as long as me and my twin sister got a good education and a big future ahead of us.

My sister Engy was the one who loved being in one place and staying in Egypt where she had her friends, and our distant family. But I was different. I wanted to explore new places and see new things. Of course, I missed my family and all the pretty things that can only be found in Egypt, but I was more excited.

Planning the move was a little bit rough because at the time Corona was really bad, and it was also affecting jobs as well. Because of this we had to go to Dubai first, which was so amazing, and it was so hot there. After that we headed to London.

My first day in London was perfect, I was so so excited to see more things. I saw Edinburgh, The British Museum, and the London Eye. I always used to read about the history of these places and now I got to actually see them.

I entered Hampstead School, which I was nervous about at first because everything felt new, new rules, new people, new language. But then everything settled, and I loved it, it is like a second home for me.

The school gave me so much confidence, opportunities to try new things. All my teachers are so sweet and always there for you anytime you need help or somebody to talk to. That is why I would like to thank all of them for their kindness.

Engy’s Journey

I’m Engy and I’m from Egypt. I’m 13 years old, I have one sister, and we are both in year 8. We are twins, but we are not identical. I would always be with my cousins, my friends, and my neighbors when we were still in Egypt, and it was such a happy time for me. I remember many of the streets in Egypt were dirty, but everyone was so kind and always helpful to each other.

I went to primary school in Egypt. In my school the girls were in different classes from the boys and break times were only around 10 minutes, so it wasn’t a long enough time to have lunch. I spent all my time with my friends, some of which I considered sisters, such as my friend Jana and Habiba.

Becasuse of coronavirus, we first had to go to Dubai before we could come to the UK. Dubai was very hot. I then took a plane to get to London. Leaving Egypt was very difficult for my mum and my sister and I, because it was a whole new life, with new people, and a new language.

Even though we learned some English in my Arab school, it was impossible to understand anyone. Now I speak a little bit more English, so it has become easier.

When I first got to London, I loved the city but sometimes I would start crying because of how badly I missed my cousins and my friends. I still miss them. London is completely different from back home, but I love it both here and there. When I started Hampstead School, I thought that I would be bullied because I couldn’t speak English. But I soon found out that it was the opposite, and now I am doing okay in my lessons, and have many friends.

Hampstead School is better than my school in Egypt. I hope to finish my education, go to university, and then go and work in my home country.

Majed’s Journey

My name is Majed, I was born in Syria and I’m 12 years old. I have a big family, we are 4 boys and 3 girls, plus my mother and my father.

I lived in Syria for less than a year when I was a baby which is why I don’t have any memories of it. When the war started, a bomb dropped near my house. So, me and my family moved to Egypt. I lived there for one and a half years and even then, I was too small to remember anything. After, we moved to another country, which was Sweden and we lived there for seven years. I remember all my friends in Sweden, and I remember the school I used to go to. I remember too that most people were blond. I liked it there, but the kids were sometimes racist, and the teachers always took their side when anything happened.

I came to the UK in 2021. The first thing I saw in London was the funfair. I really liked London. It feels really nice to live here because it’s a big city and it has a huge population with many different kinds of people.

I liked Hampstead School because I made many friends. I like to play football in my free time.

Yousef’s Journey

My Journey began in Syria where I am from. I stayed there for a long time until the civil war began, which is why I had to leave Syria and all my family.

We went to Sudan where I lived there for a year and a few months, and we had a shop there. I even met a lot of nice people there who I don’t remember. After that, we went to Lebanon because my grandad had already gone there. It was much more peaceful in Lebanon that it was in Syria. After the Civil War, some of my cousins who were still in Syria also came to Lebanon. There I became friends with my neighbors who were very nice to us and my two great-grandmothers came to visit us before they died.

Then my grandad went to Turkey, and we followed him again, we stayed there for 3 years and met even more people that became my best friends, even though we had big age differences between us. But that didn’t mean that we couldn’t be best friends. Some of them were people just like me, who came to Turkey for a short while then left to different countries and I never saw them again.

Finally, I came to England where the weather is so bad. I met a lot of people but living in Turkey was the best. One time I was even almost going to meet the Turkish president Erdogan who is very nice.

Riyam’s Journey

My name is Riyam and I am from Kuwait. I’m 13 years old and I have two brothers and one sister, and we live with my mum. My memories of my childhood and the place that I was born were not good because of our difficult circumstances. We didn’t have a home, we didn’t go to school, and we couldn’t buy anything because of the injustices of the Kuwaiti government against us who did not hold Kuwaiti citizenship. That’s why I like Britain very much for their hospitality and reception of us. Now my country is Britain. I don’t have a country other than Britain.

We had started by travelling from Kuwait to Turkey by plane. We were only there 15 days before we crossed the sea to Greece by boat. We stayed in Greece for a year and two months, where life was very difficult for us. After, we took a plane to the UK, where we now live. Life is good now, thank God we go to school and everything is fine.

Haura’s Journey

My name is Haura and I’m 13 years old. I came from Kuwait. It is the best country ever. My mum and dad are both from Kuwait, and they miss it and want to go back.

I was born in Kuwait in a city called Al Marqas. It is a very nice city. The school that I went to was very nice, but I was in school for only one year. I would spend my free time with my cousins. The reason we left was because my dad wanted us to come with him. I was upset when we left.

I went to Greece, then to Turkey, Jordan, and then Lebanon. I saw the most beautiful places that I had ever seen in my life. First, we took planes, but then we had to go on boats. The Journey was not safe at all; the water was up to my chest at times, and all my clothes were wet and cold. I finally arrived to the UK on 15th June 2018.

My first day in the UK was the best day because my two uncles were there to greet me and my mum and brother. I thought the city was so nice. I felt happy and upset at the same time, because I still missed my grandma. Now I would like to go back to Kuwait, because it is even more beautiful. I miss it a lot.

I like Hampstead School because all the teachers are kind and I have made a lot of friends. I like to do my homework in my free time and to read books and revise for my tests.

Shahed and Walid’s Journeys

We are Shahed and Walid and we’re from Kuwait. When we were young, my dad was not with us. Those four years without my dad were very hard for us, my mum was looking after four infants the whole time, because we weren’t able to go to school and Shahed was selling clothes house to house to make a little bit of money.

Our house was not very nice and big, it had only a living room and a bedroom. We decided to go to my dad in London, but we didn’t have a lot of money or citizenship. My mum’s family helped give us some money so that we can get to Turkey and when we landed, we met the man who was going to help us get to Greece. We got on a bus that was so packed that everyone was sitting on top of each other.

When we got to the forest. There were so many people that we lost each other. We kept walking for two hours. I didn’t know where my mum and my sisters were, I was just following the crowd. My mum was crying and asking for help because my foot got stuck in a wire trap and I couldn’t walk on it anymore. Finally, when I was with my mum again, we had to throw away some of our things before getting on the balloon boat.

It was night so it was hard to see, and the man was being rough. Once he threw us on the boat, he left us. After a few hours, we saw there was water in the boat, but my mum told me it was only from the rain. Suddenly there was a loud sound and people started screaming that the boat was sinking. But then a Turkish ship found us and took us to a prison place. We were being sent back to Kuwait. We had lost so much on the journey. We tried again, knowing better what to avoid this time and settled in Turkey for a while. Then we got to Greece and stayed there for two months and had to eat from a shelter.

Finally, we made it to London, and we saw my dad again after many years. We felt like we’d found a new life. I was with my dad again. We found new friends and we started in a new school. Ms. De Regibus helped us learn English and feel more comfortable. Without our teachers we would not be speaking English at all right now so we thank them always.

Juan’s Journey

My name is Juan, I am from Buenos Aires in Argentina, and in my family it’s just me, my mum and dad, my brother Santiago, and my dog Chucho.

When I was a young child, I used to live in an apartment building close to a park that I would always play football in with my friends almost every day and sometimes we would climb the huge trees in the park. Every Sunday morning in the summertime, people would make “asados” (barbecues) with a lot of meat and it would smell delicious.

Living there felt really happy because I had lots of friends and my grandparents’ house was really close to my house and my school, and the area we were in was gorgeous and wonderful to live in. I went to a private primary school; it was quite tiny because it was in a peaceful town. It was very different to Hampstead School. I spent my free time playing football or playing videogames.

My country was fine before the pandemic, but then we got a horrendous new president, Alberto Fernandez Kishner. If it weren’t for him, I could still be living in my country. Also, my mum had found a job in the UK and USA but we chose to go to the UK. It was my first time leaving the country. First, we went to Germany, we were in the plane around 10 hours, and then we took another plane to the UK. We felt excited because it was a new country for us and also that in this country, we would have a lot of new opportunities.

Now I live in West Hampstead. It has lovely parks that are really close to the school. I’ve been here two years and it’s a very good school. The education is really good and it’s a huge school. Most of the people are from different countries which makes the school special. I have made lots of friends.

Zamzam’s Journey

Hi we’re Zamzam and Abdishakur. I am 16 years old, and Abdi is 14 years old. We’re from Somalia, and we were born in Mogadishu. We live with the rest of our family, who are two other boys one other sister.

We don’t really have memories of Somalia, but we remember that we had many amazing memories and that we was happy. We didn’t go to school when we were there. Our mum looked after us all the time and we watched a lot of movies or played football to keep busy.

I left my country because it wasn’t safe there with all the war going on. So, when I was 5, we safely travelled to Ethiopia by plane. My family and I were afraid we would die if we didn’t move. We settled down in Ethiopia where we stayed for 9 years. We arrived in the UK on the 27th of December 2021.

My first day in the UK was such an amazing day. I liked the city because it was a beautiful city. I felt happy when I arrived in London. I like Hampstead School too, and I have many friends now. I miss my country, and in the future Zamzam would like to become a flight attendant and Abdi wants to be a businessman.

Mohammad’s Journey

Today I’m going to tell you my travelling experiences, from Lebanon to London.

Firstly, a day before we went to our family’s house to say goodbye to them. It was really hard leaving them, as my family and I had spent most of our days together and we’ve had so many family gatherings with all my cousins. We were going to miss them for a very long time. But we had to leave Lebanon because of economy problems.

On the day of our flight, which was at 1pm, we got to the airport very early and brought some snacks, went on our phones for a bit as we waited to board. It was so boring and tiring, especially since we had woken up at 3am. We slept for a bit on the plane until we arrived, which was 4 and a half hours long. At Heathrow Airport, we finally met my parent’s friends who we had talked to on the phone.

When we got home, we took our showers and got into more comfortable clothes. We took some Covid tests and had to isolate for 10 days at home because of the rules back then. We started looking for Schools and Colleges for myself and my siblings. I started at Hampstead School.

Ali’s Journey

My name is Ali. I come from Kuwait, which is a very hot country. I was really sad to leave my country.

My family were trying to move us away from what was happening in Kuwait. They were happy to get us some place safe but also sad at the same time that they were leaving their home. When we got to the UK we were confused about everything because it was a completely new place that we knew nothing about, but we were kind of excited too.

The first year was the hardest of course. I missed my friends, but then I made new friends.

Zaynab’s Journey

My name is Zaynab. I come from Yemen and I’m 14 years old. I live with my family. I have eight siblings, three girls and five brothers.

My country was on a desert, and we’d always hear the sounds of the call of prayer from the mosques. I felt so happy when I was living in my country because I was with my family and my friends. I was going to school, but I don’t remember what the school looked like. I just remember that it was so big. I spent my free time playing with my sisters. We had to leave my country because of the war.

First, we moved to a place in Yemen called Hudhramaut where we stayed for six months. Then we travelled to Amman in Jordan because a strong storm was coming to Hudhramaut and destroying homes and the roads. We had to travel there by bus, which was so hard, because of the rocky roads, so the bus was shaking badly. We were scared. I remember that I cried that night.

When we got to Jordan, we lived there for four years and even went to school there. In 2019, we came to the UK. We didn’t have a house at first, so we had to stay at an aunt’s house. It was so difficult too, because we didn’t know anything about the country or the language.

After two years in the UK, I started at Hampstead School. I like Hampstead School because I have a lot of friends from different countries. I miss my country a lot and I really want to visit again.

Keysha’s Journey

My name is Keysha. I’m 13 years old. I will tell you about my journey.

I have a very large family, I can’t even count how many we are but it’s a lot.

I come from two different countries, but I was born in Spain. I went with my parents to the Dominican Republic, and I spent a year there. At that time, I went to school there, but they were not very educational, so at home I always read books. When we went out into the streets it always smelled of food and motorbikes.

My mother was always so sweet with me and always took care of me. In my free time I would always go and play with the neighbors.

After some time passed, my mother and I decided to move again due to some problems. We returned to Spain to live with my grandparents. We felt sad when we went back to Spain, and it was difficult for us. We took a plane, I don’t remember it very well, but we lived there for more than 9 years, and I got used to things there again.

As some more years passed, my mother found a place in London where we would move to with her partner. We started again here, and now we all live together, and now I even have a dog a bunny.

The truth is that at first, I didn’t like this city, but I started going to an impressive school where we can learn more and there are lots of fun people.

I do miss my country, but this is how things are now. My future plans are to work as a hairdresser or a nail artist.

Dante’s Journey

Hi, my name is Dante, I was born in Argentina, and I’m 16 years old. I live with my mum and my dad. When I lived in Buenos Aires in a house that I remember was close to a park. I would come back to my house with my friends. I went to private school in Caballito, it was a big school. In my free time I played football.

I came to the UK because my mum found a new job, so we decided to move to the UK.

We felt good because it was a new country to live in and we will have more opportunities. I felt happy in this school.

Pavlo’s Journey

Hello everyone, my name is Pavlo and I will now tell you my story of moving to the UK. It all started with the fact that one day I woke up from a loud explosion and, not understanding what was happening, I ran into the kitchen to my grandmother. She was crying very hard and anxiously calling somebody. I asked her “Grandma, what happened?”, but she did not answer. I already understood, the war had begun.

We quickly gathered all our necessary things and went to the village. During that time, I managed to call back all my relatives and friends in order to find out how they are and if they were safe. Two weeks later, my family decided to go abroad to a safer place. We chose London because my aunt already lived there.

In order to get there, we had to first go to Poland. We stood at the border between Ukraine and Poland for 7 hours. We lived in Poland for two months before they gave us a foreign passport. After that, life became a little easier.

The first week after we arrived in London was the hardest, because we faced the difficult language barrier, but we got used to it quickly.

Thank you very much for reading my story. I want to be able to be strong through any situation, and to know that ‘what is done, is done better’.

Abubakr’s Journey

My name is Abubakr and I’m going to tell you about my journey.

My journey started when I left my country Yemen, and we went to Oman. Oman was quite close, so we just went by bus, which I remember was a horrible time. It was cold and raining and there was no electricity. When we travelled, I remember things just going wrong. We forgot some bags and even the ticket that we needed to have with us. And when we went to the bus it was closed. We were so sad because we thought that we would be able to get to Oman so easily.

The next day we tried again, and we finally got on the bus to Oman. You would think everything would work out well from here. No. When we were on the bus, the scariest thing happened. They said that there were some people waiting at the border and we were threatened that if we said anything we would be killed. But Alhamdulillah they weren’t there.

What we saw of Oman was so nice. Afterwards we were put in a hotel where we were for only one week. Then we travelled to Jordan, but this time we went by plane. We were in Jordan for four and a half years, and during this time my dad invited us to join him in the UK.

And so that was my Journey from Yemen to Oman to Jordan to the UK.

Arsen’s Journey

My name is Arsen. I am 14 years old. I don’t have a big family. I lived in the village of Lychkivtsi in the Ternopic region, there is wonderful nature, a beautiful landscape. I went to school there, the school was beautiful and big. I left the country because of the war. I left with my family to Poland. The journey was difficult both physically and emotionally. Then we flew by plane. We flew to the UK on 25/05/2022. The first day in the UK was unusual, I liked it here.

Later we settled in London. I feel fine now. London is different from my country in population, nationalities, climate, education, transport, etc. Life in London is interesting and beautiful. I like Hampstead School because the school is spacious, with good sports fields. I also have friends at this school. In my free time, I like to play sports. I still miss my country. In the future I’d like to become a programmer.

Vladyslav’s Journey

Hello, my name is Vladyslav. I am thirteen years old. My homeland is Ukraine, a country in Eastern Europe. My mum is thirty-six years old, but my father died in 2020 from kidney cancer. I am an only child, but I’ve got many cousins. My aunt went to London twelve years ago, then my dad and then my mum. I came to London before, in august 2018 for only one month. So, it’s my second time here now. I am interested in technology, war, aircraft, and science. I enjoy sports too, like swimming, diving, darts, and tennis. I also like playing video games. Nevertheless, keeping busy with my hobbies is not enough to distract me from missing home.

All my friends were in Ukraine; Jevgen, Olecsandr, and others. It was a really good place to live. Twenty-fourth of February last year, the bombs started to drop, even targeting some central airports. People just felt helpless and afraid. All schools stopped so were just at home, scared and waiting. Our streets were being destroyed. The roads and homes were completely dark, and we would not turn on the lights, because then the Russian Bombers could see us. Every day we were fearing for our lives. I am glad that we could leave safely and that my relatives are alive, and all is good.

I started my journey on the seventeenth of September. I had to say goodbye to everything I knew. We left in a big car with many passengers inside. We went to Chernivtsi Oblast, then started driving to Romania. In that one day we travelled through Hungary and Czech Republic too. Then we had to go through Austria, Germany, Luxemburg, Belgium, and France.

It was long and uncomfortable, on the steam ship I became really seasick and unwell. Two days later we arrived in London.

Now, I live in London, and it feels more modern. In the six months I have been here, I have adapted really well. I am studying here in Hampstead School. All is good. I have many friends. But I will never forget my native country Ukraine. I will go back soon.

Hieleena’s Journey

My name is Hieleena I come from Ethiopia I'm 15 years old. My mum is called Bethlehem and my dad is Aytegebe. I have an amazing family. I'm the only child so my dad died when I was two months and life became difficult for my mum, so she got married. I was born in Sudan I don't know about Sudan that much because my mum and my stepdad didn't have ID to live in Sudan, so we were not allowed to go out. They said if you go outside, you would be arrested by the police.

When I was 7 my dad decided to take me and him back home to Ethiopian illegally, so it was hard. I remember that day my dad came to me, and he said we will go to Ethiopia on this night so get ready that time when I heard the news, I felt excited but when he told me we are going by walking all the way to the Ethiopian borders, I was scared and nervous.

When the day came, we travelled in a group of ten people. In the middle of the night, while we were walking in the desert, we had to look out for snakes and other animals. We could even hear the hyenas which was so scary. When my dad got tired of carrying me, some other men helped him by carrying me. We barely had any food on us, so all we ate during those three days was biscuits and water. Our water even ran out when we were nearing the end of the journey, and I was so hungry that I fainted. So, they took me to a hospital where I had to stay for five days. I finally met my stepdad’s family.

After 2 years my mum came to Ethiopia to look for us. We had not had any contact with her for years, and we didn’t know where she was. Coincidentally we ran into her at a restaurant. I was shocked, so I kept asking if that was my mum, because her skin colour and weight had changed while she was in another country.

She came back to England then we followed after her the next.

Ayah’s Journey

Hi, my name is Ayah, I’m from Kuwait.

My father had already moved to London a couple years before us. So, my siblings and my mum stayed at my grandparents’ house in Iraq. My grandfather is old and couldn’t work, and there was nobody to work so we left for London to join my father. When I was 9 one of our relatives helped get us to get passports and travel to Turkey where we were for only one week. A car picked us up and took us to a forest. We walked and slept for two days in the forest, until we got to a boat. On the boat, we were able to go to an island in Greece.

We were in Greece for a whole year, before we were able to leave for London.

Roman’s Journey

My name is Roman, I’m 13, and I was born in Ukraine. My country was so beautiful. In Ukraine I went to school, and I had many friends. I lived with my mum and dad and my brother.

Now I live in Wilsden Green in London, and I go to school here. I like the school, because I have many good friends. I notice a lot of things that are different and new like buses and more shops.

In Ukraine, every day I would play football in the mornings and when I came to the UK, I started to play basketball everyday too. I have some teachers who help me, like Ms Sana, Ms Taghrid, Ms Ptaszek, and Ms DeRegibus.

Dalal’s Journey

My name is Dalal, I’m 12, and I’m from Iraq. I have four sisters and two brothers, and we all live in Cricklewood.

First, I was born in Iraq. We lived in a big house with my family. I went to an all-girls school; it was big and fun, and they even made me wear the hijab which I was glad about. Life was beautiful, but we had to leave because of money issues.

My journey started three years ago. We were trying to leave by boat, but it was really hard because there were police watching everywhere. So, we took a plane to Turkey, which was scary. I hadn’t ever been on a plane before. I was also sad that I was leaving my life behind.

But I didn’t have to be sad for very long that time, because when we arrived in Turkey, they sent us back to Iraq straight away. I got to spend one more year in my home country, until some people helped us so that we were able to go straight to London. This was good because we had already lost so much money the first time.

London is so different. It’s much colder than my country and the schools are different too, because in Iraq some teachers would hit us but here, they are kind and patient.

In the future I would like to be a photographer or a doctor. But the most important thing for me is that I have my own car, because I love cars. I’m happy living here, but I would like to visit Iraq again.

Aya’s Journey

Hello, my name is Aya, and I am from Kuwait. I’m 13 years old and I have 5 siblings. I came to London in 2017. We came because we needed to be able to go to school and get a better education. I’d like to go to university and then go back to Kuwait.

I really miss Kuwait. My journey started when we went to Turkey and from Turkey to Greece on a boat. From Greece we went to London in a plane.

I didn’t go to school in Kuwait but when I got here I started primary school. I couldn’t speak English at all but in a few years I got better. Now I’m in Hampstead School in year 8 and I have made lots of friends.

Chakira’s Journey

Hello, my name is Chakira, I’m from Morocco and I’m 15 years old. I have 3 sibling and we all live with our parents. I was born in Morocco and at 10 years old I moved to Italy and lived in Torino for 3 years. It was hard for me to move from Morocco because I had never been in Europe before.

Italy was one of my favourite countries because when I had just come, I had lots of people helping me with the language. After moving from Morocco to Italy, I moved to Belfast in Northern Ireland. I didn’t like the country because I was more used to the sun and people speaking Italian or Moroccan. I lived in Belfast for two years and then moved again to London.

This was hard for me too, because it was a completely different place for me. The first day at Hampstead School especially was hard. I am not a verbal person and it’s difficult for me to talk to people that I don’t really know and make friends with them. Now I really like the school, but it is not better than Morocco’s school.