“I didn’t become strong because I wanted to: I became strong because I had to.”
Map of Ibrahim’s journey as seen on Google Earth
Ibrahim left his home in search of a better life. Now, the young poet is speaking up for the rights of refugee and migrant children.
We spoke at length to Ibrahim for the Global GoalsCast podcast episodes here and here. But we felt that others would love to know more. So he agreed to undertake a Twitter chat and take questions from across the globe.
To make it simple to read we have archived the answers. Read on and find out whether Ibrahim would make the journey again – knowing what he knows now, what Europeans need to know about Africans and vice versa and what he likes best about Italy.
If you had to do it again now, knowing everything that you know, would you still make the journey?
I would have stayed back home in West Africa, had I known that my hope of living to see another day in the hands of traffickers would depend on the power of luck.
If someone in the world were put in charge of migration what would you change?
Migration is natural and cannot be stopped. If I happen to be in charge of migration in the world, I would make sure migration is safe and secure.
Do you have a message for your mum and the rest of your family?
The message that I have always send to my mom is that I love and miss her a lot. If I would send her a message now, I would ask her to forgive our society for taking me away from her at this time when she needs me a lot. (Ibrahim added later that he would love his mum to come to Italy, but this was difficult for apart from financial reasons, ‘my mother could come as a tourist because I don’t have the type of document to invite her’).
What do Europeans need to know about Africans?
Some Europeans should know that even though a huge number of Africans living in Europe at this time might be migrants or fugitives, but we are not primitives. A change of perspective is needed. We are not here because we hate our home countries.
What do Africans need to know about Europeans?
Some Africans should understand that living around people that do not share the same culture can be challenging. Not all words some of them might say should be seen as racist. some are just ignorant, being that we have differences in culture and traditions.
What do you like best about Italy?
I like their food and passion for football (though Ibrahim is actually a fan of English team Arsenal)
What’s your favourite Italian meal?
I love pasta and mozzarella.
What do you miss most about Sierra Leone?
I miss my family, friends and most especially the freedom I once had. Freedom of belonging to a society without being questioned about my identity. questions like “where are you from?”
What should people know about Sierra Leone?
Despite our numerous challenges, Sierra Leone is blessed with people that are friendly and very hospitable. A land that is full of minerals such as diamond and gold, great stories that have never been told.
Land of the free
What’s your favourite subject at school?
My favourite subject is Environmental systems and societies (ESS)
What’s the main issue for NGOs as they try to help to tackle migration?
As we are living in a world that has little or no future for illiterates, access to free and quality education should be a priority for all migrants and refugees.
What can ordinary Europeans do to help migrants?
Ordinary Europeans should make migrants feel welcome. It’s very easy. A simple smile and conversation can break the bridge we have between us. Get to know a migrant and put aside the stereotypes you have heard about people that look like them. You won’t regret it