A migrant's journey begins

West African family heartbroken after sending child on treacherous journey to seek a better life in Europe.

by

    Abdou Diallo has been training to be a mechanic in Senegal's capital, Dakar, for six years - since he was 10 - hoping to one day get a paying job.

    But knowing that his life would likely be spent struggling to earn a small wage, the 16-year-old's parents have taken out a huge loan and sold all of the family possessions so that Abdou can try and make the treacherous journey to Europe.

    While the visa to most European nations cost about $100, Abdou and his family know that Africans are rarely able to obtain such visas.

    So they are paying people smugglers $3,000 to organise the trip, which will include an overland trip into Libya and then onto a boat to cross the Mediterranean.

    It is a trip fraught with danger. Nearly 2,000 migrants are thought to have drowned trying to reach Europe so far this year and more than 10,000 have been rescued.

    Before Abdou leaves his home, his father has some final words of advice.

    "Throw your passport into the sea," he says. "Who you are doesn't matter in Europe. You are there to work. Have faith in God. We love you."

    But Abdou's presence will be greatly missed.

    "No one wants [to] send their son like this," his father Bashir told Al Jazeera.

    "We have nothing, not enough to eat, not enough work. He is what I have. The most precious, he is our hope."

    Watch the video above to see Nicolas Haque's report from Dakar.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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