21 years old, Sudan

12 September 2023

“I am from El Geneina, in West Darfur. I grew up there with my family. My parents were farmers and we used to have some lands on which we would cultivate, as well as a few sheeps and cows. In January 2023, I moved to Khartoum to study English literature at university. I was living in my younger sister’s family house in Omdurman city.  

The conflict started on the 15th of April. In Omdurman, the fight was intense; both parties were using different types of weapons. Hospitals, schools and administration buildings were closed so I couldn’t go to university anymore. My dream to study English had gone with the war. Pharmacies started to run out of drugs. During weeks, we would almost never go out of the house, except to buy some food or basic items in a range of one kilometre. Going beyond that would have been dangerous. The situation fell into a total chaos. 

In El Geneina, the situation was even worse than in Khartoum. We lost all our lands, our only sources of income.  My parents and other siblings who were still in El Geneina fled to the neighbouring Chad where they were hosted by some friends and extended family. It has been about a month now that I haven’t heard from them, or my younger sister who remained in Khartoum. I miss them. 

The situation fell into a total chaos. My dream to study English had gone with the war.

At the beginning of June - one month and a half after the conflict started -, I decided to leave Khartoum. It took me 3 days in a truck to reach Al Fashir [north-western Sudan], and then two additional days by car to arrive in Tina, on the Chadian side of the border where I knew some friends.

It was very hot, and we had only some biscuits, dates and water during the journey. I stopped a few days in Tina at my friends’ place, but I wanted to continue to Libya and then to Europe to pursue my studies. From Tina, it was a four-day long car trip through the desert to get to Sabha, in Libya, which I paid 95,000 Sudanese pounds [+/- 150 euros] for. 

After that, I was stuck for 3 months in Libya, doing some construction work in order to collect the 4000 Libyan dinars [+/-770 euros] I needed to cross the Mediterranean. When I was there, I was arrested and detained for two weeks. I was asked to pay 2000 Libyan dinars [+/-385 euros] to get out but I didn’t have that amount of money, so I had to contact some friends who helped me pay for it. During those two weeks, we were beaten a lot. Every day. And we would receive only some bread once per day to eat.  

I would like to go to England to continue my studies and then find a job that could help me support my family.''


*Name has been changed to protect people’s identity