THE STORY OF FUTSAM -  AN ERITREAN YOUTH

Eritrean youth are conscripted into the military, often with no end to their required service.  In effect, they becomes slaves to the military. It is estimated that 5,000 people flee Eritrea every month.  This is the story of Futsum Gebrezgabier who arrived in Regina on Christmas Eve.

On November 2009 I started my journey, walking for three days from the Eritrean military camp where we had been rounded up to a refugee camp at the border village of Shegerab in neighboring Sudan. This is very risky as this camp is known for kidnapping for ransom or organ harvesting; many simply disappear. The Eritrean military have spies throughout the camp.

I lived in this camp for about a year hoping that the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) might decide to give me protection, seeing people my age disappear from time to time. I made the decision to seek protection and freedom elsewhere and began my journey through Egypt and the Sinai Desert toward Israel where there is a UN presence.  After a horrible drive with smugglers I was dropped at the border January 9, 2011.

In Israel we have a temporary stay permit; it does not allow me to work or use any of the social or human services available. We are always under the threat of being deported back to Eritrea or another African nation.

Having the opportunity to be sponsored to Canada will allow me to be human again. I have experience in construction; I hope to study welding and be a valuable citizen.