This is what freedom feels like. Aimamo and his twin brother Ibrahim enjoyed a swim at a beach in Trabia, Italy, after surviving an epic journey from Gambia.
The 16-year-old boys had left home nine months earlier, when their father divorced their mother and left the family with no money. Aimamo and Ibrahim decided to move to Europe so they could earn a decent living and send money back to their mum. Their massive trip took them from Gambia to Senegal to Mali to Burkina Faso to Niger to Agadez and Libya, where they worked cutting grass under appalling conditions. “If you try to run they shoot you and you die. If you stop working, they beat you. It was just like the slave trade,” said Aimamo.
Eventually, they had enough money to take the dangerous boat journey to Italy, where they found support in a government-run shelter for unaccompanied boys. Ibrahim says he wouldn’t have made it without his brother. “Since we started the journey, we have always been together and that has helped a lot.”