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Module 1-Unit 4-CaseStudy 2

I am 17 years old. I arrived in Nantes in August 2013. As I was unaccompanied, an NGO directed me to the police station where they checked my identity and asked me for some documents before referring me to a community centre. I stayed there for three days. On the fourth day they sent me to the hospital where I undertook bone tests. The results falsely concluded that I was 18 years old. I was 16 back then. From that day on I have been living on the street. I kept calling the 115 number (social emergencies service) the police had given me. I have never managed to get a bed there. I discovered a squat where I could spend the nights but I had to sleep on the stairs. Eventually I found a room there. I contacted an NGO to launch an appeal. I gave them documents and they got me an appointment with a lawyer, who asked for more documents. We sent some of them to the authorities but they said they were counterfeits. So we sent them other documents but with the same result: “not authentic”. But I took the same documents and brought them to my country’s embassy in Paris, and obtained a passport there. Overall, I spent a year and a half without housing before I was finally taken in again by the CDEF (Centre Départemental de l’Enfance et de la Famille, the official organization responsible for the reception of unaccompanied minors) on the 22nd of January 2015. I used to hang out in the city centre, in parks, not knowing what to do all day. There is a lot of stuff happening in those parks. Someone from the CDEF explained to me that a judge had ordered me to be taken in again, and that my documents still needed to be analysed by the State’s Attorney and another bone test might be necessary. I told her that I had already done an age assessment and that I didn’t want to do it again because I feared to end up on the street again. Even my doctor had written a note for my lawyer saying a bone X-ray isn’t a valid proof of age. In August, I’ll turn 18 and I have no idea what’s going to happen to me. Zacharia, 17, from Ivory Coast. MdM France (Nantes) – March 2015