I would like to go back to help my family and country.” – Muhammad , Kiron Student
In May of 2015 I arrived in Germany after what was probably the longest and most dangerous journey of my life. My story is not an easy one to tell, and since my earliest remembers, my life has been surrounded by a lot of violence. I was born and raised in Ethiopia, where my father was killed by members of the TPLF (Tigray People Liberation Front) government when I was a young boy. Despite a rough upbringing, I pushed forward and began my university studies in Mechanical Engineer. As a student, I took part in several peaceful demonstrations against the government. In one instance, during my second year at university, the military responded with force and arrested me as I was a key figure in the demonstration. I spent three long days being tortured in a military camp. They treated me so severely, that to this day I still have to take medicine to treat my injuries. During these three days of being captured and constantly interrogated, I witnessed many unforgettable things. I watched the military take a man’s life in front of me in efforts to try to terrorize and scare me: it worked. Fortunately, I somehow managed to escape the military camp and and I fled the country as soon as I could, with nothing but the clothes on my back. I found myself in Kenya, where I lived for several years. I began a new life there and even enrolled in a local university to complete my Bachelor’s in Computer Informatics. I chose this field because I believe that IT works the same everywhere you go, a universal language of sorts. It also gives me the opportunity to create and manage my own jobs and projects, which I love. As I do not only stand for justice in my homeland, but everywhere I go, it wasn’t long until I was also targeted in my new life in Kenya. Thereupon I soon realized that my life was also at stake in neighboring countries of Ethiopia. This is why, two years ago, I set off yet again on a long trip that led me to where I am today: Germany.
I am 30 years old and I live in Fürth in northern Bavaria in a shared room with six other refugees. This is not the life I always imagined, but somehow it works and I am moving forward. I found out about Kiron while researching for study opportunities online and applied immediately in the field of Computer Science. With their online platform, I can study whenever I want and review what I don’t understand as many times as I need to. I love the flexibility of the online studies and I really appreciate the fact that I can learn about one subject from the perspectives of many different professors from universities around the world. So far, I have already completed ten courses with Kiron. Without a doubt, my favorite two courses were taught by edX: “Astrophysics: Exploring Exoplanets” and “Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe.” I took these courses not because they were required for my study track but simply because I was highly interested in the topic. I have always been curious and passionate about astronomy and this was my chance to learn more about it, and I must say, it was unbelievable! After hours of coding and feeling mentally exhausted, I took a break and found peace in learning about astronomy. Through my studies I am not only given the chance to pursue higher education in Europe, but I am able to to find harmony in a foreign country. I believe, largely in thanks to Kiron, that I am closer to achieving my life goals and improving my life in Germany.
Due to everything I have experienced throughout my life, I have lost faith in many people and find it very difficult to trust. Nonetheless, I am grateful for every single person at Kiron and for what they stand for. I admire what they do, yet most importantly, they have helped me feel that I am truly a part of a community. This is warm and comforting feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time.
Interview by Patricia Segovia