A Storey of Hope

fA younger brother has been reunited after five years spent apart from his older brother.

After enduring a period of homelessness following his escape from a refugee camp in Tigray, Ethiopia, Adi 14 years of age was happily reunited with his 17 year old brother Eyob.

The younger brother was granted entrance to the UK from the Home Office and eventually reunited with his brother.

Adi’s journey began at a youth club in south London, a community led organisation which supports young asylum seekers and refugees from the Horn of Africa.

Every Tuesday they run a weekly youth club for 14 to 21 year old asylum-seeking and refugee children and young people from Eritrea, Ethiopa, Sudan and Somalia called Injera Club.

The project co-ordinator at Da’aro Youth Project, Benny Hunter, said that Eyob, who attends the youth club had approached our case work staff regarding his younger brother who he was worried about and was thought at that time living in a refugee camp in northern Ethiopia.

Eyob had managed to escape to the UK a few years ago while Adi fled Eritrea when he was 10 years old, and had been residing in a refugee camp in Tigray since then.

Mr Hunter went on to say: “We then connected Eyob with a lawyer to get legal advice about bringing his brother to the UK through an outside of the rules family reunification application as asylum-seeking children don’t have any legal rights to family reunification”.

“During the period of time the application was being prepared, the war broke out in northern Ethiopia and contact with Adi was lost”.

During a joint mission to the area with the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) the UNHCR found the Shimelba and Hitsats refugee camps destroyed and all the humanitarian facilities looted and vandalised.  Around 20,000 refugees had been living in the two camps and many fled for safety.

Mr Hunter went on to say that the entire region had a media and network blackout, and we knew the camp had been destroyed because the UN took images of the refugee camp.

Adi again made contact with Eyob at the end of 2020 and told his brother he managed to escape the camp and reach Addis Ababa the capital of Ethiopia, but was homeless.

In January 2021 a fundraiser was set up to raise £2,000 to keep Adi safe whilst he was in Addis Ababa, with any extra funds to be used to help him settle when he arrived in the UK – £3,393 was eventually raised.

Both brothers were able to chat to each other via WhatsApp whilst Adi was there.

When Adi was in Addis Ababa an application was submitted to the Home Office and they issued a visa two months ago.                 Thankfully that was successful which meant they could be together again.  “They have a lot of time to make up for”.

(The boys names have been changed to protect their identity)