Showing or talking about refugees coming to Europe in media, be it television or newspapers, is mostly only highlighting or deepening the fears of those people already scared of ‘foreigners’ coming to European countries. Refugees are either portrayed as criminals flooding the continent or as people only seeking economic wealth, instead of depicting them like the humans they are, maybe fleeing war or poverty. With Europe as the proclaimed place of opportunities people fall prey to the idea that all their problems will be solved once they make it there, and even risking death to get there.

This Project seeks to cast light on the actual lives of African refugees in Germany instead of giving in to stereotypes or utopian stories. 

“Looking for Freedom” is meant to educate Africans as well as Europeans with stories of people who actually took the long and highly dangerous journey to Europe. It is to challenge not only the European viewpoint of refugees, but only the image of Europe in African countries. Not every African is a drug dealer, but Europe is also not necessarily the paradise it is made out to be. By showing actual people and telling actual stories, “Looking for Freedom” is aiming to foster a better understanding of both sides.


I decided to cut my Dreadlocks because of The Police here . They stoped me every time and check me " They see you with Dreadlocks and they think you are drug deal" . Am now clear and a bit safe , He said.

“Coming from Gambia it’s hard to get papers. I don’t have mine yet, but I have a lawyer now for that, it makes things easier. There is this image that all Gambians are drug dealers, which makes it hard. Also the new president in Gambia is a Democrat now, that doesn’t help either. “

“I’m 20 years old, I was born in Sierra Leone, but after my father died, my Mum and I came to Gambia as refugees. That was in 1998. To cross to Europe I had to pass through Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger until I reached Libya to take a boat for 500 Dinar. It took me to Sicily in Italy where I stayed one week before I took a train to Germany. I came here in 2015. Now I work in a bakery and play football here in Offenburg. I try to save some money to send home, but living here is difficult. I think your home country is the best. But if I tell people it’s not as easy in Europe as they think, they don’t believe me. You hear from relatives who make money in Europe and send it home and you want to come there, too. But it’s not like that. Once you’re here you realize that you’re alone. In Africa you have your family, your friends, and people to help you. Here you only have yourself. I know of many people who want to go back to their homelands. Maybe you have more freedom here, but if you don’t have your papers, you also have no freedom.”

“I’m from Liberia. I came with a boat to Malta, even though I feared the sea. I spent four days on the Mediterranean Sea on a boat, it was hell. You can’t understand what I’ve been through if you haven’t done the same. If you don’t go, you won’t know. But it’s nothing I wish for anyone to live through. People who did it, they will never allow anyone else to experience the same. It’s not a journey to be experienced. It hurts me to see so many people taking boats, and the majority of them didn’t even really intend to go to Europe. They don’t know why they are doing it.

My journey is a long story. When I came to Libya, I was put into prison, luckily only for four days. But I met people who spent months or years there, 30 people in one room, one toilet. Children, people my age, elderly people. I feared I would spend the rest of my life there.
I didn’t know anyone in Libya, and I knew no one would come to rescue me or pay for me to get me my freedom back. In Libya there is no freedom, not for now. I was praying to God to get out of there. But then this man came who was looking for workers and a friend of mine woke me up and we volunteered to work for him. After getting us out of that prison he told us we would never go back there. And so we stayed with him for six months. And he treated us very good.

 First I didn’t know what to expect, when he got us out I saw he had machine guns on and in his car, and the empty bullet shells were just laying around. I’m used to those from Liberia, but I wasn’t sure about him at first.

After the six months he told us that there is nothing for us here and he would see to it that we get to Europe. So he encouraged our journey and got us on the boat.

We were 307 people on that boat, but luckily no one died. And when we arrived we were immediately taken into detention. You see, Malta is a very small island. A nice one, if you come the proper way. But coming as an immigrant from the sea? They take you directly to detention, although for me it felt more like another prison. That was in 2013.

I spent one year there, then one day in Italy and then got to Germany. And now I’m here, I’m learning German. It’s very hard, but now we can communicate with people, we can understand them and talk, we can finally express ourselves again.”

I’ve been in Europe for two years but was in a tumble for 3 years. I came with a boat, but not via Italy. Now I live in Offenburg, I have a job and I also sell weed , Because it help me to make more money ( Europe is so Expensive and the job I have , You can not afford many stuff you need in life. But everything is different. It’s not easy with the language, with the system. It’s too much, too fast. People in Africa often don’t know how Europe is, how it really is to be here.”

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