Saidi is an Afghan refugee and "I did not know where to go, but I could not continue living in my country," he explains. The fear of the Taliban forced him to leave everything behind to embark on a dangerous journey without being accompanied by adults.
On arriving in Belgium he was welcomed in one of the Salesian programs for unaccompanied minors. Saidi is one of more than 22,5 million refugees around the world who have fled their countries for persecution, conflict and human rights violations.
Salesian missionaries in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany ... are working every day with people crossing the Mediterranean, especially by assisting refugee minors traveling alone. They put their lives on the line to flee from violence, hunger, and poverty.
Saidi lives in the Don Bosco Institute of Tournai. "Here young refugees find a place to live. They receive food, clothes, attention, and, most importantly, education," the Salesians explain. "They attend French and English courses, maths, science, physical education, music, drawing classes ... The older ones want a job right away and most want to live in Belgium," says Flore Dubois, a teacher at the Institute.
The journey of young refugees like Saidi is not easy. He has to face different cultures and customs. However, "most young people arrive with the desire to learn and help," says teacher Annie Michel.
"I wish I had never had to leave my country. But no doubt I am very grateful for the opportunities they are giving me," Saidi concludes.