Fadi's daughter is still in Syria. She is too young to be able to write, so she sends him voice messages.

44-year old Fadi clearly remembers that night, when the boat left the Turkish shore and sailed into the darkness. The only thought in his head was to get to the other side, for his children. This is Fadi's story.

When the war began, my village was still a safe place to live. But after a few months, life became more difficult, and we were forced to carry arms and fight. Our culture was not violent and because we refused, things got even more difficult. We would hear gunshots at night. Sometimes we found dismembered bodies lying in the streets.

People were kidnapped, our country wasn’t safe anymore. Is there any man who can live in a country without laws?

Several things happened to me during the war that made me seriously consider leaving, to save my family and give them a future. Among other things, I was kidnapped by an armed group when I was driving my truck.

So I left. For Lebanon, further to Turkey and across the sea to Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Denmark – and finally Sweden.

After ten hours on the sea, Fadi made it to Greece. In the picture is also his two kids, that he had to leave behind.

The hardest part was the boat trip, in a small inflatable boat. The smuggler took us from Turkey at one o'clock at night, out into the darkness. It was pitch black, we didn’t see anything. During the journey the waves got higher, so we didn’t reach the Greek island until ten in the morning.

It was hard but at the same time, the journey showed me how people sacrifice their lives to get where they want, that there is nothing you can’t do. Because when I thought of my children, the only thing I could think about was to arrive on the safe side of the water.

The escape route

The trip cost me about 6.000 dollars. In October 2015, I arrived in the country that had been my goal all along. I had heard about the safety and dignity one could find in Sweden. When we reached the goal I could hardly believe it was true, it was an amazing feeling. And my expectations were in line with reality – it’s a beautiful country without discrimination, with laws and a caring people.

Today I live with a childhood friend in Norrköping while I’m waiting to know about my residence permit. I'm unemployed and I haven’t got to start studying yet. I want to learn Swedish, so I can find a job.

The most important thing for newcomers is to learn the language, I don’t think there’s a single refugee who wouldn’t like to work if they knew Swedish. At the same time, it’s the newcomer's responsibility to respect Sweden, work hard and follow the rules – for example, not to drive if you have consumed alcohol.

I wish all countries lived in peace so their people never have to go through what we have experienced.

Right now I'm just waiting to get a residence permit in order to begin the process of family reunification, I miss my wife and my children. I wish all countries lived in peace so their people never have to go through what we have experienced. Before the war I lived a good life in a village whose residents loved life, who loved to meet and be together.

The best thing in life was go to work every day, and come home to spend time with my children and friends. In fact, a life where you work and surround yourself with the people you love, is an easy life.

All Stories