Félix Sesay is 23 years old and already knows what it is like to face two dangerous viruses and spend nine days adrift on a boat fleeing poverty and violence. Natural of Sierra Leone, it is one of the 629 migrants who arrived in Valencia on board the Aquarius on June 17, 2018. Two years later his life in Spain is far from what he had imagined but he maintains the illusion and during the pandemic of coronavirus You are dedicating yourself to helping others who are in a similar situation to yours.
“I did a course in social and health care and for ten months I worked in a residence for people with mental problems. I helped them get up, had a shower, assisted them in the dining room, kept them company … I was happy with the work. But on February 6 my contract ended and since then I have no income, “he says on the other end of the phone. This young man appreciates the protection that the Government gave him and his colleagues for a year and a half, but regrets that in the last six months you have forgotten about them.
This group, which has been incorporated into the Aquarius Survivors Association 2018, only asks that your situation is regularized in order to be able to choose the decent life they came looking for. With his welcome, the recently released Executive of Pedro Sánchez after the motion of censure against Mariano Rajoy hung an important medal at the international level, after no other country wanted to take care of these people.
Of the group that disembarked, 78 went to France. Of the 551 who stayed, 374 asked asylum But as of Tuesday, only 66 of those files had been resolved and the result leaves little room for hope: 49 have been denied, nine filed and only eight accepted.
He 65% no longer have a red card that accredits the status of applicant in the process of international protection. This document allows them to work, but most of those who keep it do not get decent employment either because “nobody knows it” and having to be renewed every six months, companies do not risk hiring them.
The process for these migrants thus follows the general trend presented by the right of asylum in Spain, with a very low percentage of affirmative resolutions. He last annual report of CEAR, published on the occasion of this Saturday of World Refugee Day, reflects that only 5.2% of the applications studied in 2019 were favorable. The commission, which has served dozens of those 629 survivors, maintains that regardless of the individual study of each case, Aquarius passengers must be protected by law for humanitarian reasons when coming from a country as unsafe as Libya.
“We are legal. We have our rights,” says Felix. He is one of those who has been and is being assisted by CEAR. This Sierra Leonean has actually gone to his social worker to explain his precarious situation and is waiting for them to help him out. In recent months he has continued to live in the apartment he shares with a friend, but the landlord has just told him that If you do not pay the 230 euros per month of the rent you will have to leave the house.
Until now it has had a roof and has been able to eat thanks to the food that Red Cross delivery to people without resources, a delivery in which he in turn collaborates. Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has been a volunteer in the NGO and from Monday to Friday he deals with the delivery of basic necessities to families with mobility problems as well as caring for those who arrive at the organization’s headquarters. “I want to help people,” he says and denies being afraid of Covid when asked about the degree of exposure that volunteering implies.
In full crisis of Ebola in his country He worked for a year, also with the Red Cross, as a “gravedigger” and in charge of carrying out tests on the deceased to investigate whether or not they had the disease. “That was more dangerous,” he recalls. The epidemic outbreak left Sierra Leone more than 14,000 infected and nearly 4,000 deaths between 2014 and 2016, with a mortality rate of 28%, according to the who. Other sources say that the figures were higher because the cause of death for many people was not identified, mainly in rural areas.
A healthcare professional, Felix would like to be able to fight this new crisis from the front line. “I have the title here with me but to approve it they ask me for 163 euros. A friend is going to try to help me get them,” he says. His greatest wish is that they support him so that he can continue with his studies. When he landed in Valencia he stated that would you like to become a surgeon And despite the ups and downs, saving lives from an operating room remains his dream.