Sekender and his familly’s Story

Story collected by the Marseille Asylum Observatory

In Italic, the comments and precisionof the interviewers, member of the Observatory.


The familly comes from Afghanistan. Sekender is a 30 years old, he’s the father of the family and Florence, is wife and their 2 children. Their 4 y.o daughter and their baby. They arrived in Marseille in the summer of 2017.

They came with Esmat, Sekender’s little brother 17 y.o and Radija Florence’s sister.

Helped by a compatriot

When we arrived a afghan man came up to us at the train station, asked us where we’re from and brought us to his house. He explained to us the process and showed us the way to go to the Asylum platform.

We walked all the way from Afghanistan. We went through the mountains and the rivers. My wife was pregnant at the time, and she said to me : “Leave me here, I don’t want to go any further”.

Florence told us that she gave birth at the border between Bulgaria and Serbia, at the border post.

It was an incredible journey for us, we couldn’t believe what we were going through. We lost my brother and sister-in-law on the way. We had no telephone and no contact. We got lost at the border between Bulgaria and Serbia. There were so many people on the border that the police were pushing people forward. My husband and i went to the hospital because i was going to give birth and when we came back 3days later my brother in law and my sister were gone…

With my wife, we went register our asylum application at GUDA in july 2018.

We waited 18days for a hotel. We slept, sitting in the street,  in the square near the Asylum platform under the porch in front of the university (Halle Puget). And one day, the platform told us to go to the hotel. We were with our daughter and one month old son.

The platform told us to go to the PASS, we went there but and we toured and toured but never found… it was at that time our baby got sick, he had a ferver and someone told me to go to La Timone to the emergency room and did this.

We have been staying at the Autocars hotel sfor about 25 days.

“Why are you in a deportation center?”

Radija and Esmat have just to joined us in Marseille. In Toulon, they were arrested. The police stopped the train they were travelling on and asked them how many country they had crossed and whether they had given their fingerprints anywhere else. They said yes, so they were forced to give their fingerprints, then placed them in a immigration detention centre.

We got the information from a man who was also locked up , a Nigerian who lent his phone to my brother. My brother was able write to us through this man’s Facebook to tell us that they were in a immigration detention centre in Marseille. I was happy to hear they were alive but i said :
” why are you in a immigration detention centre ?!?”
They were in Marseille at Bougainville. My brother who is a minor was placed in a immigration detention centre even though he said he was a minor…they didn’t pay any attention.

Florence went to the Asylum platform to say her sister and brother in law were in a detention centre and the platform got in touch with them. They were able to leave the center

Radija and Esmat went to the platform, my sister was able to have a appointment with the GUDA. For Esmat the platform said it was not possible to register a asylum application because he is under 18. However his wish is to apply for Asylum.

Sekender later accompanied him to the Prefecture, which gave him an appointment.

The familly in a hotel, Esmat in the street

The PADA tell me to go to ADDAP13, i go with my brother at least 2/3 time a week but they don’t do anything there, just make me sign a notebook to say that i’ve come. They say there’s no room, it’s too crowded… that i have to sleep on the street.

At my first appointment, they received me in an office and asked me what route i’d taken and how i’d got there. I explained that i had health problems. I have a bullet in my back.

A year ago in Afghanistan, he was injured.

Since then i have big health and mobilty  problems. ADDAP13 told me to go to the North hospital. I went there with my brother, they told us there would contact us. The doctors there said they didn’t know if they could operate because they was a risk of losing the use of my legs as the bullet was very close to my spine.

Even with this major health problems ADDAP13 hasn’t offer me a housing solution; they tell me to wait.

Florence explain that she tried to get her brother in law to sleep in the hotel but the hotel manager made him leave because he was forbidden to do so. Esmat sleep in the street at the bottom of the station stairs, alone. Opposite the hotel where is familly is staying.

We have too many problems to deal with.

For my sister, we called the 115 many times but they said there was no room, they asked if she had any children and say “sorry we don’t have place”, we tried so many times and  when she said she didn’t have any children they said there was no room… one time we didn’t know what to do so i told my sister, tell 115 you have a child … as she doesn’t have a child, she took my daughter to get a place in a hotel… we know it doesn’t work like that but how do you do it…? I know it’s not right, we’re not used to lying, but we don’t have a solution… It’s to hard to see her like this… In the end my sister told the truth where she sleep with our daughter, and they said they would think about it… That my daughter had to come back with us… My sister and my daughter are very close … for us it’s not normal to separate us, we are a family…

My sister and brother-in-law have no solution.

It was too difficult for us because we have no solution. She was sleeping outside, we can’t watch her sleep outside. My brother-in-law also sleeps outside.

We just want an appointment with OFII, to get a two-bedroom apartment so we can all be together. If OFII helps us get an apartment, our problem will be solved.

OFII doesn’t answer the phone. I don’t understand why some families got an apartment before us.

To eat we went to the NOGA Restaurant for 1 month, then we had to stop because there was no more room. Later we were entitled to it again, until we received the ADA at the beginning of October.

My daughter asks me every day when she’s going to go to school.

Finally the Platform gave us the document to go to the doctor (CMU), they told us that with this document we can go to the doctor for free. They helped us to take the necessary steps.