Just like thousands of children coming to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. But it didn't turn out the way he had planned and he ended up living on the streets.
"I got money by washing cars. At the bus terminal you can get money, but sometimes you don't get anything, not even food. When I didn't find food, I spent the day sleeping."
Tirusew is one of 28 boys in the shelter for street children run by Save the Children's partner organisation Retrak in Addis Ababa.
Here, boys are given the opportunity to play, to catch up on their education and have a safe place to stay. Staff work to reunify the children with their families if possible, or to find guardians, so they can be reintegrated in their communities.
Through social workers, Tirusew was given a place at the shelter and is now on his way to be reintegrated in his home village.
With funds from the IKEA Foundation, thanks to the Let's Play for Change campaign, Save the Children is able to work with more children like Tirusew, but also raise awareness among children and parents in rural areas about the dangers of migration for children.
Along with counselling, play is an important part of the centre's work, preparing the boys for a life away from the streets.
* Tirusew's name has been changed to protect his identity