Al Jazeera World

Senegal: Widows of the Sea

Senegalese women reflect on the loss of their menfolk, feared dead after attempting the 1,500km boat journey to Europe.

Thousands of people, mainly young men, have attempted the hazardous 1,500km (930-mile) boat journey from West Africa to the Canary Islands.

The United Nations-affiliated International Organization for Migration calls them “irregular migrants” and records the numbers who fail to complete the journey. In 2022, 543 people drowned in 45 boat accidents, the IOM said.

In this film, we go to Senegal to meet some of the women who are left behind to pick up the pieces after their husbands, brothers and sons are declared missing, assumed dead, during one of these “desperate journeys”.

Wives and mothers talk about their emotional loss – as well as the threat to their livelihoods without a family breadwinner.