“When my school closed after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in my country, I decided to run away. I was staying with my father, who is very poor. My mother had already moved out. I wanted to search for my uncle, and ask him to assist me.”
Besufekad Abay is 15 years old and hails from an area 255 kilometres out of Gondar town, one of the main urban centres in Amhara region in Ethiopia.
“I traveled to Gondar town looking for my uncle. But I had no details of him - no phone number, no location, no work place, not even the district where he is staying. So I failed to get him, and wandered around town, not sure what to do. For two days I suffered on the streets without food or shelter.”
“When a local saw me, he immediately understood that I am strange to the town. He asked me about myself and what I came to do. Then he took me to the shelter for children rescued from trafficking and unsafe migration at the nearest police station. The police officer in charge of child protection reported my case to ANPPCAN Ethiopia (partner of Terre des Hommes Netherlands).”
“Together they searched for my uncle and aunt, while also tracing my father. It was hard at first, since I did not have the correct information. In the end they found all my family, and prepared me to go home. Then the government banned all movement in the country, because of COVID-19. I had no choice but to remain in the shelter, for another two weeks. After this time, some movement was allowed, and I was able to travel to my uncle and aunt. We are all extremely happy, and grateful for the good care I have received during all this time.”