Eden didn’t tell her parents she was fleeing Eritrea and leaving them. She has dreams of reaching Europe and being reunited with her brother in Germany, but he doesn’t want his little sister to take the dangerous journey.
 "I had to leave Eritrea. Life there is really hard."

We first meet the twenty-year-old in a refugee camp in northern Ethiopia. It’s dry season, and the temperature is rising quickly during the morning hours, reaching almost 40 degrees. The ground is dusty and the trees don’t have enough green leaves to protect us from the sun.

Eden greets us outside the bright turquoise-painted house as we arrive, asking us to come inside. "I’ve lived here for a little more than a year now," she says.

She didn’t plan to stay that long.

"I want to go to Sudan, then Libya and further on to Europe," she explains. And yes, she is aware that it is a dangerous journey. She has friends who have taken the same route, some of whom made it to Europe. Others didn’t complete the journey.

Keeping her parents in the dark
In 2017, more than 25,000 Eritreans fled across the southern border of their country to Ethiopia. Most of them are youth and minors, and many fled alone. Most cite Eritrea’s mandatory national service, which is compulsory for citizens from the age of 18, as the main reason for leaving the country.

Four years ago, Eden’s 27-year-old brother made it to Germany. He took the long, dangerous journey through Sudan and Libya and across the sea to Europe. In November 2016, Eden decided to do the same. She said nothing to her family.

"If I had told them, I’m certain they would have stopped me."

First, she went to her grandfather’s place to hide from the military. While she was there, she asked her aunt to send her some money, which she then paid to a smuggler. On the day she left, she saw her father in the street. She managed to hide from him.

"I regret that I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to him," she says, tears in her eyes. It was not an easy decision to leave her mother, father and siblings, but Eden felt she had no other choice.

As I see it, I have two options in life: to succeed or to fail. I have heard it’s very difficult, but as long as going through Sudan and Libya is the only way to reach Europe, that’s what I want to do."
Eden, 20.
Hid from the military
Along with a group of 16 others, she embarked on the journey from Asmara, the Eritrean capital. They walked for five days before the military showed up and started shooting, forcing them to hide for two days with no food or water. The entire time, Eden was afraid they would get caught. She knew there are penalties for evading or deserting the service. In the end, they decided to go back to Asmara. There, the smuggler called, urging them to continue the journey. Eden, along with four others from the original group, decided to try a second time, and about a week later, they arrived at the Ethiopian border.

"I miss my family. They didn’t support my wish to leave and my aunt considers me a thief. The only family I have now are the girls I stay with."

In the camp, Eden shares a small house with five young women her age. They didn’t know each other before they arrived but have become good friends. All of them left their families and fled their home country in similar fashion. Eden has not been in touch with her parents since she left, but when the internet works, she chats with her sister on Facebook. Earlier this week, she called her brother in Germany.

"He doesn’t want me to leave for Europe and keeps telling me to stay in the camp because there will be opportunities for me in Ethiopia."

Will either fail or succeed
Eden has made up her mind.

"As I see it, I have two options in life: to succeed or to fail. I have heard it’s very difficult, but as long as going through Sudan and Libya is the only way to reach Europe, that’s what I want to do."

Facts
Eden is not alone. Most of the Eritrean refugees leave the camps within the first year of their arrival. Many attempt the journey to Europe, often with assistance of smugglers and at great risk to their lives.

"The only reason I’m still here is that it has become more difficult to go. My plan is to go, and I will take the same route as everybody else. I don’t know when. It could be tomorrow, the day after, in a month or a year, but as soon as the sea-border is open, I will go."

Big plans
Eden spends her time in the camp planning for the future. Along with her roommate Winta, 23, she goes to cooking classes at the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) youth education centre in the camp.

"I am very happy that I have not wasted my year in the camp. Unlike others, who just sit around doing nothing, I have studied and worked hard," she says with a smile.

The next day, she will sit the cooking exam that will give her the Ethiopian government’s official certificate. She is not nervous.

“I am feeling fine. I am well prepared, and our teachers have been very good, so I hope I will pass.”

On the day of her cooking exam, we meet her at the youth education centre. She is wearing her cooking clothes and hat and looks ready.

During the six-month course, she has learned how to cook various meals, make sauces and bake bread. She has followed lessons in proper kitchen hygiene, learned how to make the table and serve customers. On examination day, she is showing her skills to the examination proctor from the Ethiopian government.

An hour later, she has a big smile on her face. She passed the exam.

“I have got a lot of plans,” she says, serving us freshly made club sandwiches, potato bread and salad. “I would like to work in the restaurant of a big hotel, preferably in Europe. Then, with time, I want to open my own restaurant. I will call it Asmara.” Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC

Hvorfor blir noen kriser ignorert?

5. juni lanserer Flyktninghjelpen årets liste over verdens ti mest neglisjerte fluktkriser. Dette er fluktkriser som vies lite oppmerksomhet i media, som politiske aktører ikke prioriterer å finne løsninger på, og som giverland ikke bevilger tilstrekkelig penger til. Hvordan kan det skje?

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Mangel på politisk vilje 

Ofte handler det om mangel på politisk vilje. Landene på lista anses som lite strategisk og økonomisk viktige, og derfor er det ingen internasjonal interesse for å bidra til en løsning på konflikten. Dette er tilfellet i Den sentralafrikanske republikket av landene på fjorårets liste, sier Tiril Skarstein. Hun er team-leder i Flyktninghjelpen og har vært med på å utarbeide årets liste over neglisjerte fluktkriser. 

I andre konflikter er det motsatte tilfellet, nemlig mange aktører med motstridende politiske interesser, men der ingen viser vilje til å inngå kompromisserDette har vært tilfellet i Jemen og Palestina, som begge stod på fjorårets liste, og hvor de politiske interessene settes foran sivilbefolkningens beste. 

Mangelen på politisk vilje til å jobbe for en løsning på krisene er én av tre kriterier krisene blir målt etter før de havner på lista over neglisjerte fluktkriser. De to andre er mangel på medieoppmerksomhet og mangel på finansiering til humanitær hjelp. 

Mangel på medieoppmerksomhet 

Og hvorfor velger media å sette søkelyset på noen kriser fremfor andre?   

– Nærhet er et stikkord. Jo nærmere oss en krise utspiller seg, jo mer oppmerksomhet gir vi den. Da er det også lettere for oss å identifisere oss med dem som er rammet. Nærhet og identifisering er to viktige nyhetskriterier, sier Skarstein. 

Et eksempel er den såkalte flyktningkrisen i 2015 da et stort antall flyktninger kom til Europa. Dette skapte stor medieinteresse her for de landene som menneskene flyktet fra, som for eksempel Syria. Når vi kjenner noen som har flyktet fra en krise, så er det større sannsynlighet for at vi bryr oss. 

En annen årsak er at det er ekstremt vanskelig for journalister å jobbe i enkelte av landene på lista. Det gjør også at en krise får mindre oppmerksomhet. 

Mangel på finansiering 

Kriser som får lite internasjonal oppmerksomhet og lite medieomtale, får ofte heller ikke den økonomiske støtten som trengs for å møte nødhjelpsbehovene. 

Omfanget av mediedekningen av en krise er ofte en dårlig indikator når vi skal vurdere hvilke områder som har de største behovene for hjelp. 

 Nødhjelp skal gis basert på behov, men dessverre er det slik at det er lettere å skaffe nødhjelpsmidler til kriser som får mye oppmerksomhet fra politikere og media. 

Store behov 

Nødhjelpsbehovene er store i alle landene på årets liste, som lanseres 5. juni. Flere av de ti er afrikanske land. 

– Det ser ut til å være en tendens til at kriser på det afrikanske kontinentet får mindre oppmerksomhet. Mange av dem som rammes vil aldri ha mulighet til å flykte hele veien til Europa eller USA, og de aller fleste oppholder seg i sitt eget land eller flykter til relativt fattige naboland. Dessverre ser det ut til at de menneskene som rammes av disse krisene ofte er «ute av øye, ute av sinn», sier Skarstein. 

Må ikke glemme krisene 

Det aller viktigste for disse landene nå, er å få på plass politiske løsninger. Det er bare sånn man kan få en slutt på lidelsene. 

Det er også behov for akutt humanitær hjelp. For å i det hele tatt ha en sjanse til å skape politiske løsninger, må man først møte de mest akutte behovene for hjelp. Sultne mager og mangel på arbeid og muligheter til å brødfø familien er ikke et godt utgangspunkt for stabilitet. 

 Vi lager denne lista for å minne oss selv og andre på at enkelte kriser trenger økt oppmerksomhet. Bare slik kan vi skape endring. Vi må sørge for at vi prater mer om disse krisene, at vi jobber for at menneskene som er berørt blir hørt og at vi jobber for at nødhjelpen blir gitt basert på behov, og ikke bare der det er enklest å få penger.