Dalia* was just 16 when conflict forced her to flee her home in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is now 18 and is getting help from a Red Cross project in Birmingham to share her experiences and thrive in her new life.
“I didn’t know where I was going when I left Congo,” Dalia said.
“I was living my life normally, like every child, and my life changed suddenly.
“My uncle said I had to be safe. I tried to ask about my family but he said ‘you just have to go. The rest is not your problem, just go’.”
Dalia’s uncle sent her away with one of his friends, who brought her to Angola before continuing on to Europe.
“Arriving in the UK was so scary”
When Dalia got to England, she was given to someone she didn’t know. “He drove me to the police station and he told me I would be safe there,” Dalia remembered.
“Then he left me and he was gone.”
“It was difficult because I don’t know the country, I don’t know the city, I don’t know which language to speak.
“At the police station I just said asil [asylum] in French because I couldn’t even say that in English.
“I was really afraid because I didn’t know if the police would return me the same day. I thought maybe today I’m going back to my country.
“I stayed for many hours waiting at the police station and I didn’t know if I was going to prison. I didn’t know what they would do with me.”