OF THE WAY
Chased from their homes, risking it all, these girls and boys had to cross forests, deserts and swamps with or without shoes. Escaping Boko Haram-related violence in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, they all have one thing in common: they managed to break free from violence.
Project commissioned by Unicef.
We are nomads. We were not in the camp when it was attacked by Boko Haram. I was out riding a camel with my father and saw people running away. He told me to start screaming if I saw any danger. The first night I slept on a tree. I was too scared.”
Tahar Mohamed, 8, Chadian returnee from Niger.
The gunshots woke me up. 18 people got killed and everybody was terrified. I could not walk as fast as my brothers, after some days, I was too tired and hungry to walk, especially with these slippers.
Fatime Hassan, 7. Chadian returnee from Niger.
There are many islands and swamps in the Lake and the boat was often getting stuck. I don’t know how many times we had to step out and push the boat back in the water. We were all barefoot, I was afraid of snakes.
Sule Ali, 14, Nigerian refugee in Chad.
They were all dressed in black and wore turbans. They destroyed everything. We ran. My feet were badly injured from walking in the bush barefoot with all those thorns. I had to go to the clinic so they could pull them out with pliers
Khadija Kaku, 15, Nigerian refugee in Chad.
I didn’t have time to take my shoes. I had to walk all the way barefoot on the hot sand. After three days walking, we arrived in a village and sold what we had left in exchange of some cooked rice.
Ahmat Ali Makai, 12, Chadian returnee from Niger.
“My family had a good life in Malam Fatori. Walking for so long and living all you have behind is painful. It is not ok for children or for adults to live like this. We haven’t done anything wrong.” Fatime Saleh, 10, Chadian returnee from Niger.
My family had a good life in Malam Fatori. Walking for so long and living all you have behind is painful. It is not ok for children or for adults to live like this. We haven’t done anything wrong.
Fatime Saleh, 10, Chadian returnee from Niger.
“These slippers hurt me all the time, they’re too thin. I’d love to have real lady’s shoes”