Making Memories… Giving Hope

Supporting children this Christmas: Tesfay's* Story


At the age of eight, Tesfay* fled from his homeland of Eritrea with his younger sister and father, seeking refuge in the UK. The Eritrean government has been accused by the United Nations of committing crimes against humanity, and Eritrean citizens can be conscripted into indefinite military service.

When Tesfay arrived in the UK, his mother and older brothers were still living in Eritrea. He found the separation hard, and it took him a long time to settle in. 

Now aged ten, Tesfay and his family – who have since been reunited – live in Birmingham. The six of them live in a cramped two bedroom flat, and there is very little money to go round.

Tesfay’s older brother suffers from brain damage, and is partially paralysed, while his younger sister has flourished at school and is described as a “high flier”. This means Tesfay is caught in the middle, and does not always receive as much attention. He is very shy, and does not speak much at school. Because the family have very little money, there won’t be much celebration at Christmas this year.

Happily, Tesfay is coming to CHICKS for Christmas along with his best friend from school. The teacher who referred him to us said she has never seen Tesfay so excited about anything. Since he found out about the CHICKS break, he has been smiling in school for the first time ever and is already getting more involved in lessons! 

This Christmas, Tesfay will be able to have fun and relax with friends both old and new. Hopefully, a week at CHICKS will give him an even bigger self-confidence boost, and will be happier and more engaged on his return to school! 

Support children like Tesfay this year

*Name changed to protect identity 

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