Abebe’s story

I have no words to describe when I first saw them.

I was separated from my family for 12 years. I left my country in September 2004 and exactly 12 years later I am reunited with my son and wife.

I had tried to keep in touch with them more or less when they were in Ethiopia. The internet connection is very weak down there so I was not able to use Viber and free calling methods with ease. Living as a refugee is very tough especially if one has close family back home. Nothing can fill that emptiness that comes from being apart from your family.

Your assistance has come at the right time and I am deeply grateful for it. It would give more time to arrange for the air ticket if the validity of the visa was at least 60 days. When we got the visa we had 25 days and it took 15 days for another charity to tell us they couldn’t provide assistance.

Almost all refugees find it hard to cover the cost of the air ticket especially those with large families. It can be seen from my experience that there is no one to rely on and it would give more time for us to look into options if the visa was longer.

It is unimaginable to lose a visa for lack of transport money.

At last with the assistance of you and other friends I was able to buy the tickets.

My wife and son are fine and well. They always dreamed of a day where we would be reunited. My son is a good age to complete his secondary education. Life back home is difficult especially for single mothers and so it was hard for my wife to raise our son alone.

We have a lot to catch up on in each other’s life, especially for my son who I left when he was three years old hoping everything would be fine.

Abebe wants us to use his words to help with fundraising. He is working and was able to fund two thirds of his family’s flight cost himself. Less than £300 stood between him and losing his family’s visas. Abebe’s job is working with refugees and asylum seekers and he’s aware that in some ways he was lucky compared to others when it came to family reunion. He still faces some challenges; getting his son into school and being able to get appropriate accommodation for his family.