Mebratu’s Story | Center for Victims of Torture

Mebratu’s Story

The Eritrean prison was so dark, Mebratu could not see the others in the cell.

My name is Mebratu.* I had been living in Eritrea with my family. One day, I got home from work, and I couldn’t find my wife. At my wife’s work, her supervisor didn’t know anything.

I spent months trying to find my wife. I didn’t understand. I kept going back and asking the police what was going on.

Finally, they put me in prison, for two years. The place was very hot. They only gave you a very small amount of water, so when they gave you water, you had to share it. If not, you might be killed.

It was very dark in the prison. I could not see the others. One day I woke up and the person next to me was dead. This was very stressful for me.

I was transferred to another prison where I spent my days doing work, very heavy lifting, barefoot all day. One night, a guard came to me and said “Run away and go.”

I fled across the border into Ethiopia and came to the refugee camp.

I learned about CVT from one of the counselors, who came to my neighborhood. He kept seeing me around and started saying hi to me. One day he said, You’re always by yourself – why? Come to CVT.

Before CVT, everything was dark for me. I felt like the world was not comfortable for human beings.

I hated everything. I had no hope.

Before CVT, I never talked about my experience. It was hurting me for many years. But since I talked I got big relief. Thank you to the people who founded CVT.

Next to God, CVT are the ones who gave me life.


*Name and some details have been changed for safety and to protect confidentiality.

Photo credit: © Mikael Damkier |

CVT’s work with Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia is funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.


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