Eden, 20, from Eritrea has sought refuge abroad. In her video blog, she speaks about how life is as a young refugee: What is it like to stay in a refugee camp? Where does she want to travel? What are her plans for the future? Follow Eden's vlog, learn more about refugee youth and meet our other vloggers.
Hi, my name is Eden. I'm 20 years old, and I have just graduated as a chef. One year ago, I fled from my home country, Eritrea. I fled because there is no future for youth there. I dream of owning a restaurant one day – preferably in Europe.
When we're making coffee, we're talking about the past and the future. When we're making coffee, we feel free.
We still plan to go, because there are two outcomes: life or death.
Decades of conflict and severe drought have adversely affected Eritrea's agriculture-based economy. The country is one of the least developed countries in the world.
For the last 17 years, the country’s economy has been dominated by a resource sapping "no war, no peace" situation with neighbouring Ethiopia, leading to increased military spending and a closed, heavily guarded border.
A growing number of young people opt to leave the country to escape poverty and the mandatory national service that can be lengthy and onerous. Some escape through dangerous migration routes and risk being trafficked or tortured for ransom. Those who leave without permission risk a long prison sentence if they return. All those who have not been released from national service are hiding in fear of being forcefully recruited into the military. Most of the young generation end up as refugees in Ethiopia and Sudan.
In a more positive development, Ethiopia announced in June 2018 that it will fully accept and implement the peace deal that ended its border war with Eritrea. Ethiopia’s acceptance of the ruling made by the 2002 border commission is an important step to better the relationship between the two countries.
Parts of Eritrea and Ethiopia are both covered by the Sahel region, which locates some of the poorest, most vulnerable countries in the world. Climate change and large flows of migrants and refugees cause great challenges in the area. In addition, organised crime, such as human trafficking and weapons smuggling, as well as worsening security, make it difficult to reach people in need.