How I reached Lampedusa Posted November 12, 2015


Assignment WOZ Magazine Sicily_ManciniK_Echo-152a

(c)Tdh/Karl Mancini

Said grew up in Cameroon with his mother. His father passed away when Said was just 4 years-old. Along with his mother he migrated to Chad and then to Libya, where he started to play football and met M. M. was a young orphan boy of the same age as Said who lived on the streets. Said’s Mother decided to adopt him and take care of him. The two boys shared the same passion for football and soon moved to a football team together in a different city far from his mother. When the war broke out, Said was not able to get into contact with his mother and was forced to embark, along with his friend, on a journey towards Lampedusa at just 14 years old. He saw some of his comrades die along the long and difficult journey.

He arrived in Lampedusa on the 9th of July 2011, where he met Terre des Hommes and the lawyer Alessandra Ballerini through the FARO project (I) . For nearly 3 years he stayed in a shelter before being welcomed into a semi-autonomous shelter house. Today, Said continues to play football, keeps in contact with M. and has begun studying in a catering school. In 2015 he turned 18 and entered adulthood, he is now living in Palermo but he has not forgotten his mother, whom he lost contact with on the 17th of March 2011.

Thanks to Alessandra Ballerini, Said was able to launch an appeal and send a letter to his mother, hoping to be able to hold her in his arms again.

More info on FARO project started by Terre des Hommes Italy in 2011 to give support to the most vulnerable categories of migrants: children and families with babies 

Watch Said’s interview – September 2015 :

You might be interested in other: Stories