“God Knows Who I Am; He will Help Me”
God knows what I am, so He will help me.
Editing by Kathryn Cunningham
Photography by Christophe Mortier
My name is Haniah. Life in my home country in West Africa is not bad, but it’s a problem that you cannot get good work. My boyfriend left because of that problem, because of the work. We didn’t have money. So he left me with two babies and went to Libya. I didn’t hear from him at all — I got no information. I decided to go to look for him. I left the two babies with my mom and went to Libya, but I didn’t find him.
I found somebody to help me come to Italy in a ship. It was not easy. Some of the people died. God helped me with everything. When I came to Italy, and I found my boyfriend, he told me he wanted to marry me. I got pregnant. My boyfriend told me to come to this city. I took the train to come here. I gave birth and they transferred me to this Women’s Shelter with my baby Emanuel. My boyfriend comes to visit us.
I want to be a hairdresser, because I learned how to do it in my hometown. I know how to do braids. I want Emanuel to go to school, to be a policeman or a lawyer. I fast and I pray to God. God knows what I am, so He will help me. He helped me come here. He helped me to do what I needed to do.
Our team members obtain informed consent from each individual before an interview takes place. Consent forms are translated and explained in the individual’s primary language. Individuals dictate where their stories may be shared and what personal information they wish to keep private. In situations where the individual is at risk and/or wishes to remain anonymous, alias names are used and other identifying information is removed from interviews immediately after they are received by TSOS. We have also committed not to use refugee images or stories for fundraising purposes without explicit permission. Our top priority is to protect and honor the wishes of our interview subjects.