Nadia was forced to flee Ethiopia after her father was killed by government forces. She left with her brother, sister-in-law and brother-in-law, but somewhere along the journey, they were separated.
“We went out into Sudan together and then I was with my sister-in-law all the way to France. The agents put us in lorries to come here. It was dark and the agent was doing things in a rush because he didn’t want to get caught. I thought we were together, but once you are in the lorry, you must be completely silent. It was very frightening, but every step made me stronger.”
Arriving in the UK
Nadia was taken to Newcastle where she stayed in a hostel. She was fostered for a month, but it wasn’t easy.
“My foster carer was racist so I asked my social worker if I could leave and they found me somewhere else to stay where I was for a long time.”
Nadia continued to feel unhappy in Newcastle where she had no support and no friends. She made a request to her social worker that she be moved to London where there was a stronger Ethiopian community and where her friends were.
“I couldn’t stay in Newcastle because I had no friends. I felt isolated and afraid. In London I had a childhood friend. We didn’t come here together, but we met again here. I didn’t want to lose her again.”
Moving to London
Eventually, Nadia felt she had no choice, but to make her own way to London. She spent three months homeless in London. Most of that time she sofa-surfed with friends, but she also spent one month in an emergency women’s hostel.
“When I was homeless, I spent most of the time staying at my friend’s houses. It wasn’t suitable for me or them though. I felt like I was pushing them and imposing on their lives. I felt like I was taking away their privacy and freedom. Even though they might not say anything, I felt it and didn’t feel comfortable asking them to stay.”
Running out of options, Nadia was eventually referred to Centrepoint.
“When I came to Centrepoint, the staff were so friendly. I feel like it’s my sweet home. The staff were so nice from the first day I got here.”
Looking to the future
Nadia is pregnant, but currently studying at college and determined to finish her studies.
“I would like to work as a nurse for adults. I plan to continue with college once I’ve had the baby. I’m just hoping for somewhere to live that’s more permanent.”
Nadia’s keyworker said; “Nadia has been through such trauma, but you would never know it. She deals with everything so well and is so positive. She is totally self- motivated.”