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Looking for asylum for 18 years

The constant search for protection, asylum, and better livelihoods is a reality for thousands of people on the move trying to reach Europe. They often live on the edge of society and under circumstances that are dangerous for their health and well-being.

Posted on 14 Feb 2023

Ahmed is originally from Algeria and came to Bosnia and Herzegovina almost three years ago. Together with his friends, he lived in abandoned buildings in Sarajevo, and for a while, he slept in the basement. The tough life took toll on his health, and he was consequently suffering from frostbite, chest pain, and extensive coughing. With his deteriorating health, local residents brought him to the reception center Blažuj, where he was admitted by the DRC medical team to the infirmary for diagnostics.  

The doctor immediately referred him to a health center for further diagnostics and urgent care. Ahmed was diagnosed with a severe form of tuberculosis and muscle atrophy, requiring several months in the hospital. The process included isolation, comprehensive medical treatment, and continuous care, involving several different departments.  

During his hospital stay, when his condition started to improve, DRC Protection and Health team organized frequent visits, provided psychosocial support, and ensured communication with his family or other necessities he required. Upon discharge, Ahmed continued with the recovery and rehabilitation in the Blažuj Temporary Reception Centre under the supervision and care of DRC medical teams and the local health center. 

"I couldn’t move, bathe, or eat by myself, but thank God and with help from the dedicated DRC team this difficult period of life is behind me. I am happy that people like me have access to proper and lifesaving health care and that my rights are respected. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country where I could live if I had a job. The people are good, the food is good, and the climate is good. Here, I could have the peace I want, but I am aware that as a migrant it is difficult for me to get a job and be self-sustainable," says Ahmed. He has already tried to cross the border into neighboring Croatia several times, during which his phone and money were stolen. 

Ahmed left Algeria 18 years ago because he wanted a better life for himself and his family. He used to live in Scandinavian countries, and in France, and England. In the spring, when he fully recovers, he intends to move on and try to reach Ireland or Scotland, where he also lived before and where he feels at home. 

"I know the language, customs, and culture. I know where I'm going. At this age, I am not ready for any new beginnings except to return to a place where everything is already familiar to me and where I know that I will not sleep on the street and be hungry. I have had a difficult life. A lot of bad things happened to me, but the hardest thing for me was the divorce from my wife and the constant longing to see my child, who I miss more and more every day," concludes Ahmed. 

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