Busilana’s story - Refugee Council

Busilana’s story

"When I reflect on my life I wonder where I would be if I were still living in Rwanda. Maybe I’d be dead. I’m not ashamed of my past or where I’ve come from, but I know I wouldn’t have had a future."

I’m originally from the Congo but my family fled to Rwanda, when I was seven, because of the war. We were there for 15 years.

In Rwanda, we lived outside of the refugee camps because living inside the camps was dangerous. We didn’t feel safe. It was hard to get food, medicine, clothes and shoes. I had dreams of a different life, but I didn’t have any hope.

When I arrived in the UK, I didn’t speak a word of English. The language barrier made it really hard to fit in at the beginning and it was difficult to learn. But now everyone tells me I’ve got a Hull accent.

I was going to a drop in at a local youth club when I heard about the Princes Trust. Through them, I gained some certificates in sports coaching and an apprenticeship with the Tigers Trust. I’m also an Ambassador for the Princes Trust: I wanted to give back to them – through their work I’ve built my confidence, travelled and met lots of interesting people, including celebrities like Simon Cowell and Emeli Sandé. Being on the red carpet with them at the Princes Trust’s awards ceremony, and having them congratulate me was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.

My experiences in Rwanda really inspired me to help young people. Now, as well as working with the Tigers Trust, I’m a part time youth worker.

I’ve faced lots of challenges in my life but I don’t want that to affect my future. In England you have every opportunity you can imagine, every advantage to live and achieve your dreams. I’ve even got used to the cold now.

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