Shookrullah Alizadah’s story, from Afghanistan to Sweden


I want to tell you about when I fled from Afghanistan to Sweden. The trip took almost four months, and it is three years ago now. I came to Sweden with the help of smugglers that my parents paid. I fled illegally over the mountains and traveled by trucks, cars and boats.

First, I came to Iran. It took 20 days and a lot of walking. Then Turkey, but that trip was easier since we took buses and cars and only walked for five hours across Turkey’s border. Next, we arrived in Istanbul. The three weeks I spent in that big, modern and beautiful city were the best, but the smugglers decided we’d go to Greece. This time it was a dangerous trip; we had to cross the border to Greece in a rubber boat.

We got to the sea at midnight but the police tried to catch us. We ran because we didn’t want them to send us back to Afghanistan. Finally we got to Greece; exhausted, hungry and thirsty.

In Greece, the police took us to a refugee camp where we got checked, registered and sent to Athens. They dropped us on a big square and we called the smuggler, who would help us, get to Italy by boat.

We tried to reach the sea several times the next month. On the third try we were put in jail for over a week. On the fourth try, we managed! We were so happy! But there was a huge problem awaiting us. We did not have any food and water and the trip from Greece to Italy took three days and two nights. We drank sea water to survive. Then, in the middle of the sea the boat’s GPS broke down. We were sad and worried but an Iraqi boy who knew how to navigate a boat became captain and steered the boat to Sorano in Italy.

But my journey wasn’t over. After several more car trips and train rides, I got off the train in Malmö. It was so cold! I didn’t have any warm clothes, Italy was warm and I had no idea that it was so cold in Sweden…

Shookrullah’s story has been published in the book “My Backpack” part of the project “Hello Sweden” conveying stories of refugee children. “Hello Sweden” is a UNHCR educational project in cooperation with the Swedish anti-mobbing organization ‘Friends’ to create awareness and change negative attitudes and prejudices about unaccompanied refugee children in Sweden.




1 family torn apart by war is too many

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