We Flee from One Country to Another

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The right to play and learn is not a given for Asylum Seeker children

Ali, a 6 -year -old boy had been looking forward to playing ball in the yard. “Dad, when will we play football again?” he asked his father.

“Look, child, it is still raining heavily. Later when the rain stops, we play ball again,” said Muhammad Hussein, Ali’s father, with a patient voice.

Muhammad Husein and his family came from Afghanistan. Conflicts and wars forced them to leave Afghanistan to seek safety in Iran. Ali was born while the family sought refuge in Iran. Unfortunately, they could not stay long in Iran because conflict in Iran forced them to flee to Syria. They lived for four years and four months in Syria until the conflict broke out forcing them to yet leave again this time to Indonesia.

“We are already living four months in Indonesia,” said Muhammad Husein. “For four months we lived on borrowed money,” he continued.

Actually, Muhammad Husein and his family were already granted refugees status in Syria. However, after being forced to leave the country now in Indonesia they must begin again the process of applying for protection as refugees with UNHCR Indonesia. That is why they are not getting help from anywhere and are forced to live of borrowed money.

Together with his wife who is suffering from back pain and three children, Muhammad rents a small room. The place is similar to a warehouse, not designed to live in. The room was very damp and moldy with plasterboard many of which are broken. The room they live in has one bed and one additional single mattress. In the corner of the room there is a table with a stove on it, where the family cooks meals each day. But on the table, there was no food at all, only cups, plates, and a jar containing sugar cubes.

Their room was on the third floor, while the bathroom which is shared with seven other families is on the ground floor. With her back pain going up and down the stairs to go to the bathroom is very difficult for the wife of Muhammad Husein.

Ali, a boy born in refuge, was never able to get an education and lacks the freedom experienced by other children of his age. War and conflict, violence and unrest forced him to become a child moving from one country to another in search of salvation and peace. His life is still full of uncertainty, for how long this will go on is not known to him or his parents. ***

Th. Kushardini

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