Abandoned at sea
Again and again, Matius has been forced to run from danger. At only 16, he has nearly drowned at sea, watched as an armed group killed his father, been smuggled across borders and been tortured by traffickers. Now Matius, born in Eritrea, is seeking asylum in Tunisia, where he hopes he can finally rest.
Teklebrhan Tefamariam Tekle escaped Eritrea twice. Today, at 27, he lives in relative comfort, adjusting to a new life in the southern Swedish city of Jönköping.
Maymun and Mahamed's fled the civil war in Somalia with their families when they were children and found refuge in Ethiopia. They were the first in their families to receive a university education.
Yasmiin had a small restaurant in her home town in Somalia. One day she was kidnapped by some men and raped. After that she became ostracised in her community, people stopped talking to her and stopped coming to her restaurant. She could not stay there any longer and decided to leave Somalia, taking the smuggler route through Yemen and Sudan to Libya, hoping to reach Europe. She was imprisoned in Libya and eventually evacuated by UNHCR to Niger where she is waiting to be resettled.
“Of course they lied to us. The phone wasn’t working and the GPS device wasn’t working. We sailed for almost 18 hours. We didn’t know which direction we were taking, where we were going.” Wael and 200 other people were put on board a small wooden boat and abandoned in the middle of the sea.
She Speaks is an initiative that aims to amplify the voices of refugee women and girls who tell us, in their own words, the impact that COVID-19 has had on them. The videos also demonstrate their resilience and aspirations.
Nour left Yemen after the war broke out and went to Egypt to follow in the footsteps of his friends who had crossed the sea from there to Europe. Nour was told the sea route was open, so he took his chances to make a better life for himself and his family. His mother encouraged him to go, believing like Nour that he would board a ship from Alexandria that he’d work on during the journey.
“There were no drugs. There were two sick children and they didn't get any medicine or anything. Their mother was crying and pleading, Just take me back to Cairo! They refused. They said she’d stay until the others leave.” Omar and other people were kept at a farm by smugglers.