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A journey of courage

23 July 2021

Jakey has found safe refuge with Save the Children in Bosnia

Jakey* was only 12 years old when he made the bravest decision of his life. Frightened of being recruited by the Taliban, he walked thousands of kilometres from his home in Afghanistan to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now safe in a refugee camp, he is getting the support he needs from Save the Children to attend school and achieve his dreams.

It's a really difficult situation [in Afghanistan] for boys that are 15 or 16. The Taliban can just come and say you need to be a soldier. If you say no, they can kill you.

Jakey, 12

At just 12, he started his year-long walk to safety. From Afghanistan through Iran to Turkey, onwards through Serbia until he reached Bosnia. The journey was long and hard. “There was a lot of snow on the road from Iran to Turkey. It was really cold. I saw that two people had died because of the cold, by the Turkish border,” Jakey says.
When he reached Bosnia, Jakey was spotted by Save the Children child protection workers. We gave Jakey a legal guardian to help him access services like school, meals, and psychosocial support. “When I first arrived, I was scared and tired and I didn’t have anybody, but now I know some people here,” he says.
With his trademark determination he’s now determined to make a future for himself in Europe. “I speak Pashtu, Urdu, Farsi and Punjabi. In the future I would like to study English.”

Streams of children arrive needing help

There are thousands of unaccompanied children like Jakey, fleeing from violence and conflict in the Middle East every year. Many of them make their way to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Save the Children supports them in and out of camp settings.
Thanks to our generous supporters, we are able to have child protection teams operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to aid unaccompanied and separated children. We help new arrivals access accommodation, registration, legal advice and other services.
Once children are settled in, we facilitate school enrolments at the local schools, and help them get nourishing meals at school and in the camp. Our supporters help fund the essentials for the migrant and refugee children enrolled in local schools with appropriate infrastructure needed for school integration. This includes building toilets, providing desks, chairs, photocopiers, even toilet paper and soap, so that that refugee children and local Bosnian children have the basic, safe facilities they need to get an education together.

For a child like Jakey, Save the Children help provide a stable foundation on which he can build a new life and a better future. With his determination to succeed, there’s no doubt this strong foundation will help him get to where he wants to be.

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