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Eric (name changed), 22 years old, from Burundi

​Eric is a Burundian refugee who recently crossed the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Since 2015, over 400,000 Burundian refugees have fled the violence and instability in their country and almost 40,000 of them have sought refuge in the DRC.

Eric is currently living outside one of the transit centres, waiting to be officially registered as a refugee and transferred to a refugee camp - but he has been waiting for several months.

“When the spaces open up in the transit centre, the priority is given to women and children. We, young single men, we are always last on the list. When are we going to have a place? What are we to become? We will never get a place.” Eric recognises that women and children should be given priority, and says that he would of course give up his place if a woman with a child needed shelter and protection. He says, however, that a solution needs to be found for those who don’t get in.

Without official registration documents, young refugees like Eric can’t travel or work for fear of being arrested by the police. Staying alive outside of the camps is a struggle every day, he says.

Photo: Clara Veale / Story: Voices of Refugees

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