Melilla Kids’ Journey

Tens of young migrants, each year, cross the border between Morocco and the Spanish city of Melilla illegaly. Their objective is to embark secretly on the ferries that, each day, go to the Peninsula, to Spain. They want to build a new life there but, meanwhile, they have to live in the center for minors of Melilla, a place where their rights are fewer everyday, so they escape, they live in the streets, under the bridges and look for food in the rubbish. This is the journey of the kids of Maghreb who want to reach Europe.

English audio trascription:
I am from Algeria and I am 28. He is 10 and comes from Morocco. I am from Oran. I arrived here 15 days ago. He has been living here for one year and came alone.

We live in an time where even children residing in the open centre for minors run away to take the ferry.
If they run away it means the center has stopped providing the minimum services it ought to provide.
And so what is going on currently is that children are massively running away. They know perfectly that once they turn 18, their residence permit expires.
From the day they turn 18, they are forced out in the streets without any papers.
Children who may have arrived when they were 11 and who grew up in the centre, are all of a sudden thrown out and left at the mercy of the police.
Once in the streets these guys have nothing. In any moment police may ask them for documents and push them to the border with a deportation notice.

Here we all have a plan: we want to leave Melilla. Police must send us to Spain. We want a job, we want to build a new life, we don’t want anything else.
People here live on the streets. If you come later you will see how people sleep here under the bridge. There’s no food. I live in the middle of the street and I don’t even have money to call home. Today I didn’t eat anything, just cigarettes, cigarettes and cigarettes. The only food we have is in the garbadge. We live like dogs my friend… like dogs. Now is getting colder at night and it wil start raining. What can we do? Shall we die here?

The center is far… it’s close to the border in a completely isolated place. Children live there, they eat there and now they also study there. In fact they spend all their time there. Last year, at least, they used to go to ordinary schools in the city of Melilla. In this way they could spend some time outside and meet people outside the walls of the centre, and this had a very positive effect on them.
Last year however, for the first time here in Melilla, they decided to throw them out of ordinary schools and to move classes for foreign minors inside the center.
You can immagine how all this affects the life and expectations of 17 years old boys or for 11 years old children.
How can they say that these boys are “bad”, that they “do nothing except trying to escape” .. No, no, gentlemen … here we need things to be clear: if minors leave, it’s because, in one way or another, they kick them out. They deprive them of any expatation, of any hope of a better life, of any hope for education, for integration. Children understand very well that in the center there is no future for them and they just want to leave. “if I can not stay here” they say “I’ll go to another place”.

I want to go to Spain and then to Belgium, and you? Where do you want to go? Belgium too! For me Spain is just a stage. I have family there. I’ll spend there just some days and then I’ll buy a ticket to Belgium. He wants to get there. He wants to have documents and start working when he will turn 18.
He wants to be a soldier and to treat people well.

He says he wants police to give him a permit to leave. He says that local police, the same police that is so bad with us, has to just let us go to Spain and allow us to build a new life.

Across the sea it aimed at documenting migrations journeys along main routes of the Mediterranean Sea. Grounding on the previous Through Desert and Sea, the project wants to outline the comprehensive dimension of migration from Southern to Northern shores with the long term goal of enhancing intercultural dialogue, empowering migrants and fostering alternative narratives and perceptions about migration in the Mediterranean countries.

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