I Am a Migrant is a platform where migrants share their migration experiences and stories in their own words. The initiative was launched to celebrate migrants, and to challenge the anti migrant stereotypes and hate speech in politics and society. Migrants from all over the world have shared their stories, including Ohene Aboagye, International Director at the Directorate for Integration and Diversity (IMDi).
"When I was eight years old, I decided to run away from home to earn money to pay for my own education. Having been born in Ejisu in Ashanti Region in Ghana to a very poor family, being the second of 12 siblings meant my family could not afford to send all of their children to school. They chose to educate my elder brother and I was to work with my father on his farm. I refused, as I wanted to go to school. For that, l was beaten repetitively for days and weeks. I failed to convince my parents to allow me to go to school and which is when I decided I needed to finance my own schooling.
I washed cars, sold various things on the street side of Kumasi and attended school at the same time. After my going through a very hard time, l completed my schooling and joined the Ghana Army. Then, I decided to leave. My destination was Oslo, Norway.
A new chapter of life began, full of uncertainty and the unknown. But then again, uncertainly and the unknown have been a part of my daily life. I learned uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security. I found out that education was free in Norway and I felt that it was my biggest weapon to success.
Coming to Norway was a little like free-falling, I felt I was floating on restless waters but with a firm aim; to achieve what I was denied without knowing how!
My first impression when I arrived in Norway was like “love at first sight”. I was impressed to see how peaceful the country was, how people were living a normal life. They have schools for everyone, education is free, even university. I was amazed to see that parents give a lot of time to their children, taking them out into the wilderness and teaching them about the land and nature.
I am thankful to the Seventh Days Adventist Church, at the Tyrifjord SDA Church Senior High School in Hole near Hønefoss. They supported me with all I needed and made me feel at home. They guided me and helped me to overcome the initial culture-shock.
I only had a small bag with few clothes as I didn’t have much to bring with me from Ghana. However, what I brought with me was my determination to always see the glass half full.
I have been living in Norway for almost 33 years. What I miss from my country? I mostly miss my friends.
I have now achieved my dreams and have a great education from the University of Agder and University of Oslo. I have proudly worked with the elderly for years.
Norway has given me what my own parents denied me. I am privileged to be Norwegian and I am glad to be contributing to this beautiful country. My future would have been different if it had not been Norway. I am grateful to Norway and its people.
I came to Norway with only basic education from Ghana and I had to start my life from the scratch. Now, I am well established and living as one of the highly respectable migrants in Norway.”
Ohene Aboagye is a member of the Board of the Norwegian Health Authority for the Western Region and the International Director at the Directorate for Integration and Diversity (IMDi).
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