Daniel's Story

Daniel web
Daniel is moving on with his life

Daniel is now in his twenties, and is from West Africa. He was just 16 when he arrived in the UK, abandoned by an agent who put him in a taxi and sent it to Scottish Refugee Council. He has had no news of his family since he left home.

“I came to the UK with an agent, who took me from West Africa to London, and then to Glasgow. I’d never talked to him before – it was my uncle who arranged it. My father was from a political party that was in opposition to the government.

They wanted to kill him, so he ran away. The government forces came to our flat to find him – they set the house on fire, arrested my mum, me and my brother.

Government forces came to our flat and set it on fire. They arrested my mum, me and my brother

They put us in jail, and then my mum was moved. We never saw her again. I don’t know what happened to my brother either. I managed to get out of jail because my uncle knew one of the guards, but he had to stay.  

Alone in a strange land

I had no idea where I was going – I’d never been away from my home country before and I didn’t speak English. When I got to Glasgow, the agent put me in a taxi at the station and told the driver to drop me at Scottish Refugee Council. Then he disappeared.

I didn't understand how important the asylum process was. Asylum was a strange word to me

From there I got transferred to the social work department and then to one of the hostels in Glasgow. It was a place for homeless adults, and really not somewhere that I should have been. I was there for eight months. I had no power to get something better. I was very naïve at the time, not speaking very much English.

After four months they took me to the Home Office to do the asylum process. I didn’t really understand what was going on, I’d never had any counselling – I just went there they asked me a few questions and I filled in a form and that was that.

Moving on with life

I didn’t understand how important the asylum process was – asylum was a strange word to me. I was a child, I was definitely scared, and yes, I thought about going home.

Now I’ve moved on with my life, and have academic and professional qualifications. But I think about the trauma I went through every day. Even now, when things in my life are a bit better, it’s an ongoing tragedy that I am always thinking about.

I’ve still not heard anything from my family. I’ve been in touch with the Red Cross tracing service but they’ve never found anybody. They’re still working on it.”