My day at the home office
William, aged 15, from Cameroon
I came here today to tell you about one of the longest days I have ever experienced since I have been in England. I am talking about the day I spent at the Home Office.
The person who had brought me into the country had just abandoned me in front of this huge building. I was standing there on my own. I was told later that this place is called the Home Office. I was forced to enter the building by an officer who asked me to explain why I was staring at the building like that. I quickly told him about my misadventure and he invited me to follow him in. This is when my ordeal started.
Firstly my rucksack and I had to go through security checks and a metal detector. At this point I did not know what I had done to deserve this treatment. Then I was questioned on my age and identity in the coldest-hearted manner. “What is the name and age you used back in your country?” Without any explanation, I was asked to take a seat and wait to be interviewed later on. Before finding a seat, I had to look hard for a comfortable one, which I couldn’t find as they were all metallic. It felt more like being in detention.
Children like William arrive in the UK dishevelled, dirty, vulnerable and traumatised. Please help give them dignity, warmth and comfort by sponsoring an arrival pack containing the essentials for the first few days of their experience in the UK.
The day was a nightmare. I could see people crying, being very anxious and some were even arrested. Finally, it was my time to be interviewed. When they came for me, I prayed for God’s help because I couldn’t face the stress on my own.
My interview was in two parts as I am under-aged. This took three hours. You can imagine how tired I was. I was starving, as I hadn’t had a single meal in the entire day. After an hour, a woman came to me and asked me to follow her. This was the end of my nightmare.
In spite of this experience, I would like to thank the British government for all it has done for me. For now I am under their protection and they offered me the chance to be equal and achieve my goals like any other British kid.