Working Class Heroes

Do migrants have a past? Do migrants have a future? Or are they forever locked in the images of man on sinking boats, of women, babies in their arms, crawling under barbwire, of families waiting in line, stranded in the shadow of borders we thought had forever vanished?

Gabriele Galimberti and journalist Anja Conzett have tried to see things differently. He has learned that these men and women actually had a job where they come from and dream of being able to work in Europe. So when he set out to photograph a group of migrants eager to reach Switzerland but blocked in the city of Como, in northern Italy, he decided to show them as they would have liked to be shown. Dembo as a baker, Osman as a bus driver, Noreen as a nurse and Jafar as policeman. These are just some of works they are used to do and skilled in. But Dembo, Osman, Noreen, Jafar and many others are now living in lurid tents, camping out in a small park adjacent to the city’s station in squalid conditions.

These photos are their CV’s translated in images. Galimberti has borrowed the language of publicity to show what reportage cannot. These photographs are not real. But they should be.

In order to illustrate the enormous chasm between their present and a possible future Galimberti has also done a series of still lifes of where the migrants actually sleep. It’s in the space between these two worlds that the future of Europe will play out.

Tetx by Paolo Woods

All the stories by journalist Anja Conzett


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  • Michael Nani, 24, Waiter from Nigeria “I’m afraid to return” “Back in Nigeria I was a waiter at Gee’s Lounge in Lagos. A very privileged work place, well paid as well. I got the job threw my uncle who is a well known business man. What most people including me didn’t know, was that he also occupied himself with some shady business such as drug trafficking and money laundering. He used me for drug deliveries. As soon as I found out what I was delivering, I threw the package away and fled. I knew how dangerous it would be, if I get caught but I didn’t had the courage to stand up to my uncle. The next three years I lived in different countries in Africa, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Lybia. But life in Lybia isn’t safe for refugees. So I decided to come over to Europe. I liked my life in Nigeria better than the one I have here, but I’m afraid to return.”

    Michael Nani, 24, Waiter from Nigeria

“I’m afraid to return”

“Back in Nigeria I was a waiter at Gee’s Lounge in Lagos. A very privileged work place, well paid as well. I got the job threw my uncle who is a well known business man. What most people including me didn’t know, was that he also occupied himself with some shady business such as drug trafficking and money laundering. He used me for drug deliveries. As soon as I found out what I was delivering, I threw the package away and fled. I knew how dangerous it would be, if I get caught but I didn’t had the courage to stand up to my uncle. The next three years I lived in different countries in Africa, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Lybia. But life in Lybia isn’t safe for refugees. So I decided to come over to Europe. I liked my life in Nigeria better than the one I have here, but I’m afraid to return.”

    Michael Nani, 24, Waiter from Nigeria

    “I’m afraid to return”

    “Back in Nigeria I was a waiter at Gee’s Lounge in Lagos. A very privileged work place, well paid as well. I got the job threw my uncle who is a well known business man. What most people including me didn’t know, was that he also occupied himself with some shady business such as drug trafficking and money laundering. He used me for drug deliveries. As soon as I found out what I was delivering, I threw the package away and fled. I knew how dangerous it would be, if I get caught but I didn’t had the courage to stand up to my uncle. The next three years I lived in different countries in Africa, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Lybia. But life in Lybia isn’t safe for refugees. So I decided to come over to Europe. I liked my life in Nigeria better than the one I have here, but I’m afraid to return.”

    Michael Nani, 24 Waiter from Nigeria

  • Osman Jalloh, 28, Bus Driver from Sierra Leone.

“Nine years without any accident”

I’ve been caught in Chiasso and brought back to Como already twice. Switzerland, Germany, France—actually I don’t bother. The main thing is that I can work. It’s sad how many people here think that we refugees don’t have any skills. I’m not a loser! I’ve been a bus driver for nine years: without any accident, even though there are hardly any traffic lights in Sierra Leone.I miss driving, but even more I miss my two year old daughter.Main thing work: Osman Jalloh would like to work as bus driver again. But, “dishwashing, cleaning the streets—I do anything. Anything for my daughter.”

    Osman Jalloh, 28, Bus Driver from Sierra Leone.

“Nine years without any accident”

I’ve been caught in Chiasso and brought back to Como already twice. Switzerland, Germany, France—actually I don’t bother. The main thing is that I can work. It’s sad how many people here think that we refugees don’t have any skills. I’m not a loser! I’ve been a bus driver for nine years: without any accident, even though there are hardly any traffic lights in Sierra Leone.I miss driving, but even more I miss my two year old daughter.Main thing work: Osman Jalloh would like to work as bus driver again. But, “dishwashing, cleaning the streets—I do anything. Anything for my daughter.”

    Osman Jalloh, 28, Bus Driver from Sierra Leone.

    “Nine years without any accident”

    I’ve been caught in Chiasso and brought back to Como already twice. Switzerland, Germany, France—actually I don’t bother. The main thing is that I can work. It’s sad how many people here think that we refugees don’t have any skills. I’m not a loser! I’ve been a bus driver for nine years: without any accident, even though there are hardly any traffic lights in Sierra Leone.I miss driving, but even more I miss my two year old daughter.Main thing work: Osman Jalloh would like to work as bus driver again. But, “dishwashing, cleaning the streets—I do anything. Anything for my daughter.”

    Osman Jalloh, 28, Bus Driver from Sierra Leone.

  • Blessing, 24, & Cherish, 18, Hairdressers from Nigeria

“Rather to drown than to live like that”

I never would have gone with that man if I had known what was awaiting me. He had promised I could work as hairdresser in Libya. Instead he forced me and my sister into prostitution. After half a year I managed to escape with the help of a client. I had to leave my sister behind. I haven’t heard anything from her since then.I knew I could drown during the passage. Everybody knows that. But I rather wanted to drown than to live on like that. I met Cherish on the boat. At the age of 13 she was sold to men by her aunt. She fled when she was 17. In Como with the priests we are well for the first time. We want to stay here.

    Blessing, 24, & Cherish, 18, Hairdressers from Nigeria

“Rather to drown than to live like that”

I never would have gone with that man if I had known what was awaiting me. He had promised I could work as hairdresser in Libya. Instead he forced me and my sister into prostitution. After half a year I managed to escape with the help of a client. I had to leave my sister behind. I haven’t heard anything from her since then.I knew I could drown during the passage. Everybody knows that. But I rather wanted to drown than to live on like that. I met Cherish on the boat. At the age of 13 she was sold to men by her aunt. She fled when she was 17. In Como with the priests we are well for the first time. We want to stay here.

    Blessing, 24, & Cherish, 18, Hairdressers from Nigeria

    “Rather to drown than to live like that”

    I never would have gone with that man if I had known what was awaiting me. He had promised I could work as hairdresser in Libya. Instead he forced me and my sister into prostitution. After half a year I managed to escape with the help of a client. I had to leave my sister behind. I haven’t heard anything from her since then.I knew I could drown during the passage. Everybody knows that. But I rather wanted to drown than to live on like that. I met Cherish on the boat. At the age of 13 she was sold to men by her aunt. She fled when she was 17. In Como with the priests we are well for the first time. We want to stay here.

    Blessing, 24, & Cherish, 18, Hairdressers from Nigeria

  • Bubakar Diallo, 26, Mechanic from Guinea

“Taking care of my sister”

Before I arrived here I hadn’t known much about Europe. Except that there is work here. Work and peace. In Guinea we lack both of it. I was ten years old when my father died. They found him shot in the streets. May be it was a robbery, may be the military or the rebels. Three years later my mother died too. Since that time was taking care of my sister who is five years younger than me. She is a tailor but earns hardly anything. After I had lost my job as a mechanic I came here to be able to take better care of her. It didn’t work out. For six months I’ve been travelling through Italy now. Tomorrow I leave for Ventimiglia. May be from there on I manage to go to a country where there is work.

    Bubakar Diallo, 26, Mechanic from Guinea

“Taking care of my sister”

Before I arrived here I hadn’t known much about Europe. Except that there is work here. Work and peace. In Guinea we lack both of it. I was ten years old when my father died. They found him shot in the streets. May be it was a robbery, may be the military or the rebels. Three years later my mother died too. Since that time was taking care of my sister who is five years younger than me. She is a tailor but earns hardly anything. After I had lost my job as a mechanic I came here to be able to take better care of her. It didn’t work out. For six months I’ve been travelling through Italy now. Tomorrow I leave for Ventimiglia. May be from there on I manage to go to a country where there is work.

    Bubakar Diallo, 26, Mechanic from Guinea

    “Taking care of my sister”

    Before I arrived here I hadn’t known much about Europe. Except that there is work here. Work and peace. In Guinea we lack both of it. I was ten years old when my father died. They found him shot in the streets. May be it was a robbery, may be the military or the rebels. Three years later my mother died too. Since that time was taking care of my sister who is five years younger than me. She is a tailor but earns hardly anything. After I had lost my job as a mechanic I came here to be able to take better care of her. It didn’t work out. For six months I’ve been travelling through Italy now. Tomorrow I leave for Ventimiglia. May be from there on I manage to go to a country where there is work.

    Bubakar Diallo, 26, Mechanic from Guinea

  • Alhagie Gaye, 19, Shop Assistant from the Gambia.

“Don’t come here”My uncle had a clothes shop in the Gambia. It was an honour for me to work. Selling beautiful things, advising the ladies – I liked that. But my uncle is old, he has sold the shop. I couldn’t find another job, that’s why I’m here. My brother wanted to follow me. “Don’t come here,” I told him. Europe is not how we have imagined. I don’t even have a tent roof over my head, let alone a job.Dream job: Alhagie Gaye misses advising the costumers.Below: Harsh reality: Gaye sleeps on the platform of Como’s station: “It was better in the Gambia, at least I had my family there.

    Alhagie Gaye, 19, Shop Assistant from the Gambia.

“Don’t come here”My uncle had a clothes shop in the Gambia. It was an honour for me to work. Selling beautiful things, advising the ladies – I liked that. But my uncle is old, he has sold the shop. I couldn’t find another job, that’s why I’m here. My brother wanted to follow me. “Don’t come here,” I told him. Europe is not how we have imagined. I don’t even have a tent roof over my head, let alone a job.Dream job: Alhagie Gaye misses advising the costumers.Below: Harsh reality: Gaye sleeps on the platform of Como’s station: “It was better in the Gambia, at least I had my family there.

    Alhagie Gaye, 19, Shop Assistant from the Gambia.

    “Don’t come here”My uncle had a clothes shop in the Gambia. It was an honour for me to work. Selling beautiful things, advising the ladies – I liked that. But my uncle is old, he has sold the shop. I couldn’t find another job, that’s why I’m here. My brother wanted to follow me. “Don’t come here,” I told him. Europe is not how we have imagined. I don’t even have a tent roof over my head, let alone a job.Dream job: Alhagie Gaye misses advising the costumers.Below: Harsh reality: Gaye sleeps on the platform of Como’s station: “It was better in the Gambia, at least I had my family there.

    Alhagie Gaye, 19, Shop Assistant from the Gambia.

  • Dembo „Alex“ Sillah, 21, Baker from the Gambia

„Here I can make it“

When I arrived in Como we were 15 refugees – in the whole town. Today there are around 600. I own everything to the priests and monks who took care of me in their convent where I am still living. Now I want to give back something. Therefor I am working full time as a volunteer in Caritas’ food station. Also because I can’t stand it, to just sit around. Not being able to work, that’s no life for a man, that’s a shame! And it drives you mad. I see it with other refugees. They’re turning aggressive, violent or depressed and give up eventually.Like almost every refugee in Como I don’t have a permission to work. Although I would already have a Job. Shortly after my arrival an aid organisation found an internship at a bakery for me. For six months. I absolutely wanted to learn how they bake bread in Europe. It was great! My boss was so happy with my work, that he promised to hire me as soon as I’ve got the papers. I’ve learnt so much from him. The language too. Besides Italian I speak English, Arab and French. I’ve learned French in the hotel where I used to work in the Gambia. My father died when I was 13. From there on I had to take care of my mother and my two younger sisters.I wouldn’t have left my family in the Gambia voluntarily. I had to. Why? One day, when just me and my boss were on the shift in the hotel, the cash box with all the tips in it disappeared. My boss accused me. A lie – I’d rather starve than bring shame to my father’s name. If I wouldn’t have fled, they’d locked me up without trial. You’re not worth anything if you’re poor in the Gambia. The system is corrupt, there is no justice, no freedom. Here it’s different. In Europe you can make it on your own if you are diligent and honest. The Europeans are polite and educated. That’s why I love this continent.I don’t just want to work here to support my family—I want to learn as much as

    Dembo „Alex“ Sillah, 21, Baker from the Gambia

„Here I can make it“

When I arrived in Como we were 15 refugees – in the whole town. Today there are around 600. I own everything to the priests and monks who took care of me in their convent where I am still living. Now I want to give back something. Therefor I am working full time as a volunteer in Caritas’ food station. Also because I can’t stand it, to just sit around. Not being able to work, that’s no life for a man, that’s a shame! And it drives you mad. I see it with other refugees. They’re turning aggressive, violent or depressed and give up eventually.Like almost every refugee in Como I don’t have a permission to work. Although I would already have a Job. Shortly after my arrival an aid organisation found an internship at a bakery for me. For six months. I absolutely wanted to learn how they bake bread in Europe. It was great! My boss was so happy with my work, that he promised to hire me as soon as I’ve got the papers. I’ve learnt so much from him. The language too. Besides Italian I speak English, Arab and French. I’ve learned French in the hotel where I used to work in the Gambia. My father died when I was 13. From there on I had to take care of my mother and my two younger sisters.I wouldn’t have left my family in the Gambia voluntarily. I had to. Why? One day, when just me and my boss were on the shift in the hotel, the cash box with all the tips in it disappeared. My boss accused me. A lie – I’d rather starve than bring shame to my father’s name. If I wouldn’t have fled, they’d locked me up without trial. You’re not worth anything if you’re poor in the Gambia. The system is corrupt, there is no justice, no freedom. Here it’s different. In Europe you can make it on your own if you are diligent and honest. The Europeans are polite and educated. That’s why I love this continent.I don’t just want to work here to support my family—I want to learn as much as

    Dembo „Alex“ Sillah, 21, Baker from the Gambia

    „Here I can make it“

    When I arrived in Como we were 15 refugees – in the whole town. Today there are around 600. I own everything to the priests and monks who took care of me in their convent where I am still living. Now I want to give back something. Therefor I am working full time as a volunteer in Caritas’ food station. Also because I can’t stand it, to just sit around. Not being able to work, that’s no life for a man, that’s a shame! And it drives you mad. I see it with other refugees. They’re turning aggressive, violent or depressed and give up eventually.Like almost every refugee in Como I don’t have a permission to work. Although I would already have a Job. Shortly after my arrival an aid organisation found an internship at a bakery for me. For six months. I absolutely wanted to learn how they bake bread in Europe. It was great! My boss was so happy with my work, that he promised to hire me as soon as I’ve got the papers. I’ve learnt so much from him. The language too. Besides Italian I speak English, Arab and French. I’ve learned French in the hotel where I used to work in the Gambia. My father died when I was 13. From there on I had to take care of my mother and my two younger sisters.I wouldn’t have left my family in the Gambia voluntarily. I had to. Why? One day, when just me and my boss were on the shift in the hotel, the cash box with all the tips in it disappeared. My boss accused me. A lie – I’d rather starve than bring shame to my father’s name. If I wouldn’t have fled, they’d locked me up without trial. You’re not worth anything if you’re poor in the Gambia. The system is corrupt, there is no justice, no freedom. Here it’s different. In Europe you can make it on your own if you are diligent and honest. The Europeans are polite and educated. That’s why I love this continent.I don’t just want to work here to support my family—I want to learn as much as

    Dembo „Alex“ Sillah, 21, Baker from the Gambia

  • Essa Bah, 16, and Moussa Saidi, 17, professional Football Players from the Ghambia

“We just want to play”

I was a student at the National Football Academy of the Ghambia, Moussa played for the club “Wales” in the C-League. It wasn’t easy to get in to the Academy and I miss it very much. But after the death of my father I couldn’t afford to continue my education. Being here is terrible for both of us. We cannot train as often as we should to be able to compete at a professional level. Twice a week is just not enough. But we don’t have a field, not even an own ball. We don’t ask for much, we just want to play football. It opens my heart when I play. I don’t worry anymore and the fear vanishes.

    Essa Bah, 16, and Moussa Saidi, 17, professional Football Players from the Ghambia

“We just want to play”

I was a student at the National Football Academy of the Ghambia, Moussa played for the club “Wales” in the C-League. It wasn’t easy to get in to the Academy and I miss it very much. But after the death of my father I couldn’t afford to continue my education. Being here is terrible for both of us. We cannot train as often as we should to be able to compete at a professional level. Twice a week is just not enough. But we don’t have a field, not even an own ball. We don’t ask for much, we just want to play football. It opens my heart when I play. I don’t worry anymore and the fear vanishes.

    Essa Bah, 16, and Moussa Saidi, 17, professional Football Players from the Ghambia

    “We just want to play”

    I was a student at the National Football Academy of the Ghambia, Moussa played for the club “Wales” in the C-League. It wasn’t easy to get in to the Academy and I miss it very much. But after the death of my father I couldn’t afford to continue my education. Being here is terrible for both of us. We cannot train as often as we should to be able to compete at a professional level. Twice a week is just not enough. But we don’t have a field, not even an own ball. We don’t ask for much, we just want to play football. It opens my heart when I play. I don’t worry anymore and the fear vanishes.

    Essa Bah, 16, and Moussa Saidi, 17, professional Football Players from the Ghambia

  • Noreen George, 42, Surgical Nurse from Pakistan

“Helping is my job”

It’s been a year and five months since I was allowed to take care of a patient the last time before. Me of all people. Me who never had the time to found a family unlike my siblings because I was always working. For 15 straight years. To nurse ill people, to help them, that’s my vocation. My passion. It feels like a cruel joke, that I had to flee because of my job. My parents belong to Pakistan’s Catholic minority. To avoid persecution by radical Muslims many of us move exclusively in the Christian neighbourhoods. They leave them seldom and only by day. That’s no option when you work in a hospital. You get used to verbal slander and being spit at. But then there were death threats to my family. My parents are very sensitive. They decided that I should leave. To flee costed 1000 Euro. My chief physician, a Muslim, organised it. As far as to the Adria coast by car, then for days with five Afghanis in a ship container. When I arrived in Milan I had no idea where I was. Again a Muslim Pakistani has helped me. He placed me into the train to Como. I’m also very thankful to the priests who took care of me. Nevertheless I cried every day. Homesickness has become better. But the feeling of being useless remains.

    Noreen George, 42, Surgical Nurse from Pakistan

“Helping is my job”

It’s been a year and five months since I was allowed to take care of a patient the last time before. Me of all people. Me who never had the time to found a family unlike my siblings because I was always working. For 15 straight years. To nurse ill people, to help them, that’s my vocation. My passion. It feels like a cruel joke, that I had to flee because of my job. My parents belong to Pakistan’s Catholic minority. To avoid persecution by radical Muslims many of us move exclusively in the Christian neighbourhoods. They leave them seldom and only by day. That’s no option when you work in a hospital. You get used to verbal slander and being spit at. But then there were death threats to my family. My parents are very sensitive. They decided that I should leave. To flee costed 1000 Euro. My chief physician, a Muslim, organised it. As far as to the Adria coast by car, then for days with five Afghanis in a ship container. When I arrived in Milan I had no idea where I was. Again a Muslim Pakistani has helped me. He placed me into the train to Como. I’m also very thankful to the priests who took care of me. Nevertheless I cried every day. Homesickness has become better. But the feeling of being useless remains.

    Noreen George, 42, Surgical Nurse from Pakistan

    “Helping is my job”

    It’s been a year and five months since I was allowed to take care of a patient the last time before. Me of all people. Me who never had the time to found a family unlike my siblings because I was always working. For 15 straight years. To nurse ill people, to help them, that’s my vocation. My passion. It feels like a cruel joke, that I had to flee because of my job. My parents belong to Pakistan’s Catholic minority. To avoid persecution by radical Muslims many of us move exclusively in the Christian neighbourhoods. They leave them seldom and only by day. That’s no option when you work in a hospital. You get used to verbal slander and being spit at. But then there were death threats to my family. My parents are very sensitive. They decided that I should leave. To flee costed 1000 Euro. My chief physician, a Muslim, organised it. As far as to the Adria coast by car, then for days with five Afghanis in a ship container. When I arrived in Milan I had no idea where I was. Again a Muslim Pakistani has helped me. He placed me into the train to Como. I’m also very thankful to the priests who took care of me. Nevertheless I cried every day. Homesickness has become better. But the feeling of being useless remains.

    Noreen George, 42, Surgical Nurse from Pakistan

  • Aliola Samba, 24, Mechanic from Senegal

“A girl and a car”

One day I would like to own a BMW. It doesn’t have to be a new model or anything fancy. I just admire the accuracy of the engines. So smooth. Back in Senegal I was a mechanic. I didn’t choose this profession; it was the only job I could get. But I know nothing else and I like working with my hands. Italy is no good if you are looking for work. I plan to go to Spain. A friend of mine is there. He’s working on a boat and he told me that the people are friendlier than in Italy. Maybe I’ll meet a girl there. I would like that. A girl and a car.

    Aliola Samba, 24, Mechanic from Senegal

“A girl and a car”

One day I would like to own a BMW. It doesn’t have to be a new model or anything fancy. I just admire the accuracy of the engines. So smooth. Back in Senegal I was a mechanic. I didn’t choose this profession; it was the only job I could get. But I know nothing else and I like working with my hands. Italy is no good if you are looking for work. I plan to go to Spain. A friend of mine is there. He’s working on a boat and he told me that the people are friendlier than in Italy. Maybe I’ll meet a girl there. I would like that. A girl and a car.

    Aliola Samba, 24, Mechanic from Senegal

    “A girl and a car”

    One day I would like to own a BMW. It doesn’t have to be a new model or anything fancy. I just admire the accuracy of the engines. So smooth. Back in Senegal I was a mechanic. I didn’t choose this profession; it was the only job I could get. But I know nothing else and I like working with my hands. Italy is no good if you are looking for work. I plan to go to Spain. A friend of mine is there. He’s working on a boat and he told me that the people are friendlier than in Italy. Maybe I’ll meet a girl there. I would like that. A girl and a car.

    Aliola Samba, 24, Mechanic from Senegal

  • Gibbi Saine, 19, Taylor from the Ghambia

“A gentle work for a gentle boy”

Senegal, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Lybia. That was my route. I left home in August 2015 and arrived in Italy on the 25th of May 2016. I’ve never been to school. I can’t write nor read. But I can draw sewing patterns in many styles. I started tailoring at the age of nine. It is a gentle work for gentle boys. I loved to just sit by myself, work the textiles, feel them, take measurements and create. The reason I had to leave the Ghambia – I’ll never tell. Not even my best friend knows why. I am too ashamed about it. It is my secret, it stays my secret.

    Gibbi Saine, 19, Taylor from the Ghambia

“A gentle work for a gentle boy”

Senegal, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Lybia. That was my route. I left home in August 2015 and arrived in Italy on the 25th of May 2016. I’ve never been to school. I can’t write nor read. But I can draw sewing patterns in many styles. I started tailoring at the age of nine. It is a gentle work for gentle boys. I loved to just sit by myself, work the textiles, feel them, take measurements and create. The reason I had to leave the Ghambia – I’ll never tell. Not even my best friend knows why. I am too ashamed about it. It is my secret, it stays my secret.

    Gibbi Saine, 19, Taylor from the Ghambia

    “A gentle work for a gentle boy”

    Senegal, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Lybia. That was my route. I left home in August 2015 and arrived in Italy on the 25th of May 2016. I’ve never been to school. I can’t write nor read. But I can draw sewing patterns in many styles. I started tailoring at the age of nine. It is a gentle work for gentle boys. I loved to just sit by myself, work the textiles, feel them, take measurements and create. The reason I had to leave the Ghambia – I’ll never tell. Not even my best friend knows why. I am too ashamed about it. It is my secret, it stays my secret.

    Gibbi Saine, 19, Taylor from the Ghambia

  • Jafar Ali, 27, Police Officer from Ethiopia (and Abdul Soli, 24 Police Officer from Eritrea, on the right)

Jafar:
I pinned a Swiss Flag between my family pictures to the tree above my sleeping place. The first time I’ve heard from Switzerland was during police school over ten years ago. Rule of law, a working democracy, an exemplary police force. I’ve been impressed. When I had to flee I told to myself, I want to go there. To Switzerland—or to Germany or Norway where I have relatives.I’ve become a police officer to serve my people. My people—not the Ethiopian state. Ethnically I belong to the Oromo. For many years my people is fighting for independence from Ethiopia. Because of that the regional police and the federal police are in a kind of a Cold War. For ten years I was a member of the regional police. But last year the relations between Ethiopia and the Oromo have worsened radically. They’ve burnt down our University as a punishment, because many students participate in the independence movement. Among them many of my friends and my sister.For months ago the federal police raided my house and arrested me. My two Kids and my pregnant wife had to watch everything. When I was released a few days later I fled to Europe with my sister and my best friend. By foot to Libya, from there on by boat. We have been floating on sea for 15 days. We only received a tiny gulp of water every day, nothing to eat. We were about 60 people on the boat. For or five died. One woman was pregnant. It was terrible.I’ve never seen my youngest son Hamdi so long. But I am glad my wife has stayed at home. Such a flight is very dangerous for women. They aren’t save here neither. Me and my friend are already watching over five foreign women. If they let me, I’d like to protect the Swiss as a police officer. Like they were my own people.

    Jafar Ali, 27, Police Officer from Ethiopia (and Abdul Soli, 24 Police Officer from Eritrea, on the right)

Jafar:
I pinned a Swiss Flag between my family pictures to the tree above my sleeping place. The first time I’ve heard from Switzerland was during police school over ten years ago. Rule of law, a working democracy, an exemplary police force. I’ve been impressed. When I had to flee I told to myself, I want to go there. To Switzerland—or to Germany or Norway where I have relatives.I’ve become a police officer to serve my people. My people—not the Ethiopian state. Ethnically I belong to the Oromo. For many years my people is fighting for independence from Ethiopia. Because of that the regional police and the federal police are in a kind of a Cold War. For ten years I was a member of the regional police. But last year the relations between Ethiopia and the Oromo have worsened radically. They’ve burnt down our University as a punishment, because many students participate in the independence movement. Among them many of my friends and my sister.For months ago the federal police raided my house and arrested me. My two Kids and my pregnant wife had to watch everything. When I was released a few days later I fled to Europe with my sister and my best friend. By foot to Libya, from there on by boat. We have been floating on sea for 15 days. We only received a tiny gulp of water every day, nothing to eat. We were about 60 people on the boat. For or five died. One woman was pregnant. It was terrible.I’ve never seen my youngest son Hamdi so long. But I am glad my wife has stayed at home. Such a flight is very dangerous for women. They aren’t save here neither. Me and my friend are already watching over five foreign women. If they let me, I’d like to protect the Swiss as a police officer. Like they were my own people.

    Jafar Ali, 27, Police Officer from Ethiopia (and Abdul Soli, 24 Police Officer from Eritrea, on the right)

    Jafar:
    I pinned a Swiss Flag between my family pictures to the tree above my sleeping place. The first time I’ve heard from Switzerland was during police school over ten years ago. Rule of law, a working democracy, an exemplary police force. I’ve been impressed. When I had to flee I told to myself, I want to go there. To Switzerland—or to Germany or Norway where I have relatives.I’ve become a police officer to serve my people. My people—not the Ethiopian state. Ethnically I belong to the Oromo. For many years my people is fighting for independence from Ethiopia. Because of that the regional police and the federal police are in a kind of a Cold War. For ten years I was a member of the regional police. But last year the relations between Ethiopia and the Oromo have worsened radically. They’ve burnt down our University as a punishment, because many students participate in the independence movement. Among them many of my friends and my sister.For months ago the federal police raided my house and arrested me. My two Kids and my pregnant wife had to watch everything. When I was released a few days later I fled to Europe with my sister and my best friend. By foot to Libya, from there on by boat. We have been floating on sea for 15 days. We only received a tiny gulp of water every day, nothing to eat. We were about 60 people on the boat. For or five died. One woman was pregnant. It was terrible.I’ve never seen my youngest son Hamdi so long. But I am glad my wife has stayed at home. Such a flight is very dangerous for women. They aren’t save here neither. Me and my friend are already watching over five foreign women. If they let me, I’d like to protect the Swiss as a police officer. Like they were my own people.

    Jafar Ali, 27, Police Officer from Ethiopia (and Abdul Soli, 24 Police Officer from Eritrea, on the right)

  • Sarish Gill, 32, Cleaning Lady from Pakistan

“We just want to be a family”	

We’ve lived in Zurich for three years. This was the best time since our flight six years ago. We were together, had a little apartment, enough to eat, and my oldest daughter went to kindergarten. She already speaks a lot of Swiss German. We weren’t allowed to work, but my husband helped out Pakistani friends and received gifts for the children in exchange. Four months ago the officers came with the deportation order: back to Italy! I couln’t stop crying in the police car. We have lived in Italy for three years before that. Partly on the street when Carol still was a baby. It was awful. In Italy I am recognised as refugee. I am allowed to work, but what’s it good for if there aren’t any jobs? If someone in Como needs a Cleaning lady: 0039 328 379 80 53. I am a really hard worker.We just want to be a family. But without a job we can’t afford an apartment. I share a small room with the kids and a foreign woman in the priests’ home. My husband Rizwan hast to sleep in a different house.In Pakistan Rizwan used to work for our church. Therefore he once was beaten so badly by radical Muslims he needed to go the hospital. Then they attacked our home. We left everything behind and fled. But Jesus watches over us. Here too. That gives me strength.

    Sarish Gill, 32, Cleaning Lady from Pakistan

“We just want to be a family”	

We’ve lived in Zurich for three years. This was the best time since our flight six years ago. We were together, had a little apartment, enough to eat, and my oldest daughter went to kindergarten. She already speaks a lot of Swiss German. We weren’t allowed to work, but my husband helped out Pakistani friends and received gifts for the children in exchange. Four months ago the officers came with the deportation order: back to Italy! I couln’t stop crying in the police car. We have lived in Italy for three years before that. Partly on the street when Carol still was a baby. It was awful. In Italy I am recognised as refugee. I am allowed to work, but what’s it good for if there aren’t any jobs? If someone in Como needs a Cleaning lady: 0039 328 379 80 53. I am a really hard worker.We just want to be a family. But without a job we can’t afford an apartment. I share a small room with the kids and a foreign woman in the priests’ home. My husband Rizwan hast to sleep in a different house.In Pakistan Rizwan used to work for our church. Therefore he once was beaten so badly by radical Muslims he needed to go the hospital. Then they attacked our home. We left everything behind and fled. But Jesus watches over us. Here too. That gives me strength.

    Sarish Gill, 32, Cleaning Lady from Pakistan

    “We just want to be a family”

    We’ve lived in Zurich for three years. This was the best time since our flight six years ago. We were together, had a little apartment, enough to eat, and my oldest daughter went to kindergarten. She already speaks a lot of Swiss German. We weren’t allowed to work, but my husband helped out Pakistani friends and received gifts for the children in exchange. Four months ago the officers came with the deportation order: back to Italy! I couln’t stop crying in the police car. We have lived in Italy for three years before that. Partly on the street when Carol still was a baby. It was awful. In Italy I am recognised as refugee. I am allowed to work, but what’s it good for if there aren’t any jobs? If someone in Como needs a Cleaning lady: 0039 328 379 80 53. I am a really hard worker.We just want to be a family. But without a job we can’t afford an apartment. I share a small room with the kids and a foreign woman in the priests’ home. My husband Rizwan hast to sleep in a different house.In Pakistan Rizwan used to work for our church. Therefore he once was beaten so badly by radical Muslims he needed to go the hospital. Then they attacked our home. We left everything behind and fled. But Jesus watches over us. Here too. That gives me strength.

    Sarish Gill, 32, Cleaning Lady from Pakistan

  • 5 people sleep in this tent

    5 people sleep in this tent

    5 people sleep in this tent

  • 2 people sleep in this tent

    2 people sleep in this tent

    2 people sleep in this tent

  • 2 people sleep in this tent

    2 people sleep in this tent

    2 people sleep in this tent

  • 2 people sleep here

    2 people sleep here

    2 people sleep here

  • 2 people sleep here

    2 people sleep here

    2 people sleep here

  • 3 adult and 1 child sleep here

    3 adult and 1 child sleep here

    3 adult and 1 child sleep here

  • 3 people sleep here

    3 people sleep here

    3 people sleep here

  • 3 people sleep here

    3 people sleep here

    3 people sleep here

  • 3 people sleep here

    3 people sleep here

    3 people sleep here

  • 3 people sleep here

    3 people sleep here

    3 people sleep here

  • 3 people sleep here

    3 people sleep here

    3 people sleep here

  • 5 adults and 1 child sleep in this tent

    5 adults and 1 child sleep in this tent

    5 adults and 1 child sleep in this tent

  • 7 people sleep in these 2 tents

    7 people sleep in these 2 tents

    7 people sleep in these 2 tents