Said, born in 1996 in Somalia, came to East London at the age of 15/16 in 2013 with his older sister and brother to live with their father.
Said ‘s childhood was dominated by civil war. He lived in Mogadishu where there were frequent bombshells and the deafening noise of artillery. There was little access to health services or education. It was difficult to trust anyone except immediate family and closest neighbours and they frequently had to flee and live in temporary tents outside the city. If there was a break in the shellings volunteers would set up classes in the Somali language and to learn the Quran. They usually had food on the table as Said’s father was able to send back money from England.
Said’s father applied, under family reunification, to bring over his family as refugees. This was initially refused but on appeal the court decided he could bring over 3 of his 6 children. This was a difficult decision for Said’s family. Who should stay in Somalia and who should go? Said was chosen along with one older sister and brother. He was excited to leave for England and to see his father after 10 years but it was emotional leaving his mother and 3 other siblings. They had all been through so much together during the civil war.
Said lives in Stepney Green with his father and older siblings. He attends Hackney College where he learns IT, Maths and English. In East London he has extended family, Somali friends and attends the mosque. He has taken up athletics and loves running. He avoids any trouble and wants to be an engineer. He is very concerned about his mother and other children left back in Mogadishu and talks with them regularly over the phone. If the situation in Somalia improves he would like to go back and help reconstruct his country.