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  'We walked from Kurdistan to Turkey'
Updated 22 April 2002, 11.08
Leyla is seeking asylum
Ten-year-old Leyla fled her home country of Iraq because her family was being persecuted. Here she tells her story in her own words.

"We were forced to leave Kurdistan because Saddam Hussein hated my dad. He told my dad that we had to leave the country immediately or else he would kill him. My dad had already been hit two times before which is why he is poorly.

I didn't want to leave, my life was good but we had to go. My friends were crying and saying don't go.

We walked across the mountains

Leyla's journey
Leyla's journey
We needed money so we sold my mum's jewellery, she wasn't happy about it but we had no choice.

Then we started walking, first of all to Iran, then to Turkey. It was a really long walk.

It took three days to walk from Kurdistan to Turkey. We would sleep outside at night, avoiding police. My Dad would give me a tablet to sleep and be quiet.

We then rode in the back of a lorry for eight days. We weren't allowed to take much with us, one or two bags only. It was freezing, my sisters were crying and they were sick all the time. I was scared too.

Along the way we changed to another lorry. I remember being taken downstairs and we were told to keep quiet and not talk and then we were taken to another lorry.

There's no fighting here

When we did finally get out of the lorry we were picked up by the police. My Dad asked where we were and the police said in London - my Dad was pleased that we had finished our journey.

My first day at school was hard but good - the teachers would talk slowly to me. I didn't understand English.

But the best bit about being here is there's no trouble, no fighting and no hitting my dad - that's why it's so brilliant."

Newsround Extra on asylum seekers goes out tonight at 5.25, BBC1

More InfoBORDER=0
Find OutWhat is an asylum seeker?


Past StoriesBORDER=0
Children seeking asylum talk about their fight



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