A look at the broken hopes and harsh realities of life as an illegal immigrant in Europe.
Ssuuna Golooba was a photojournalist in his native Uganda. But, like many others, he thought he could make a more lucrative living in Europe.
Although I had a job in Uganda, I could never look after my family and mother as well as I wished on my salary of $150 per month. Most professionals in my country are paid peanuts and this has forced many of them to look for greener pastures elsewhere. Going to Europe seemed to be the best way to achieve my goals.
During the day I worked as a freelance photojournalist for the New Vision and Bukedde newspapers in Uganda. In the evening, I worked in my own small shop in Kampala, the capital. Not many people in my country can earn that kind of money. I was able to meet people from all social classes, I was able to travel around the country, I had access to everything.
But I had it in my mind to go to Europe because many of my friends had emigrated. Some of them came back home with flashy cars and lots of money. The temptation to make it big and the fear that I was being left behind helped make up my mind.
In Uganda, I lived in a small village not far from Kampala. I was able to build my own small house and also had a small car that I used for work. My house was not so good compared to those of the rich people in the area, but it was okay for me. It had three rooms and no running water inside. I had electricity and a landline telephone. I was living there with my wife, daughter and a housemaid who helped us with the domestic work.
In search of a better life
|Ssuuna went to the Netherlands in search of a better life and a prosperous future|
A very good friend of mine went to London; he came back 10 years later with everything – cars, machines to make furniture and about $48,000.
I told him that I wanted to go to Europe, but he warned me not to. I thought perhaps he did not want me to develop.
I started to make arrangements. Initially I wanted to go to the UK, but they rejected my visa application. That made me think maybe it would be better to stay in my country. But I could not ignore the small voice within me telling me to go to Europe. I could hear it saying: “This is your time, use it, you’re not earning enough money here, if there are no opportunities in your country go elsewhere. Many people migrated and they have made it, you will make it.”
On the day of my departure, my family organised a farewell party and a small service to thank God for the visa and to ask for protection and guidance. We gathered at my mother’s house where nearly all my family and friends came to wish me luck and to ask me to bring gifts back with me. We roasted three chickens – everyone was excited.
When I hugged my mother for the last time her face was full of happiness. She told me: “Please don’t let us down and don’t forget us. Work hard so that we can also get some happiness. God will bless you and everything you do in Europe.”
I was looking forward to the challenges but as the plane took off, I started to think about where I was going. I asked myself: where am I going to sleep, who is going to receive me at the airport, what food am I going to eat, what job I am going to do? I tried to sleep but was too nervous and began to doubt my plan.
A European paradise
When I arrived in Amsterdam a man took me to the area where most immigrants live. He had arranged accommodation for me in the house of an African man. There were 15 people of different nationalities living there. I had to pay $162 a month to sleep in the corridor.
After three months I called my mother to ask for money because I was completely broke and had nowhere to sleep and nothing to eat. I went to Europe to help my family but now my family had to help me. My mother sent me $337, which I used to pay my rent for two months. I still had no money to buy food and, along with some friends, had to survive off other people’s leftovers. Sometimes church organisations gave us food.
Some of my friends were sleeping in semi-finished buildings, on the streets or on construction sites. One Zambian man spent more than a year sleeping on the streets. “I used to see beggars in my country and I could never think that one day I could be one of them in Europe,” he told me.
I will never forget the Nigerian lady who confessed that she was forced into prostitution. “I could sleep with more than five men a day just to get some money for rent, food and medication,” she said. She told me other women were in the same situation. She said they looked for jobs but wherever they went, they were asked for papers they did not have. Some contracted HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Getting together the money for rent and actually finding a room were two completely different things. Many people were afraid to accommodate us because we were illegal. Those that did let us rent rooms could impose unfair rules, like only allowing us to cook once a week.
|Ssuuna’s home in Amsterdam|
My relatives back home started calling and telling me stories of hunger and poverty – demanding that I send money. They could not understand why, two years after arriving in Europe, I was still jobless. Sometimes I told them of the realities I had encountered but they did not believe me.
Many people in my situation were being paid cash for their work, but by doing so, became a target of exploitative bosses. Sometimes you could work for 12 hours and then the boss would say he had no money to pay you. We always had to fight for our money.
We could not openly complain because of the fear of losing our jobs. We lived in fear of the police, thinking we would be arrested and deported empty-handed.
When we got sick there was no money for treatment. It is very difficult for immigrants to acquire medication without papers. The Red Cross doctors can only provide you with paracetamol, no matter what the illness. They give you a letter referring you to a hospital but when you get there they ask for your insurance or ask you to pay lots of money. One Ugandan girl developed a tumour in her stomach, but when she was referred to a hospital, they told her that without medical insurance she had to pay more than $4,000 for an operation.
There were also some good people. I remember one retired Dutch doctor who used to help sick illegal immigrants. I went to see him and was amazed by the long cue of waiting immigrants.
The fear of failure
I missed my daughter and mother the most. I left my daughter in a boarding school when she was only five years old and I saw her again when she was 12. She could not remember me very well although she knew I was her father.
I felt depressed when I received calls from home announcing the death of a family member. Many people passed away during the time I was away.
I was not alone in this situation – many other immigrants were experiencing the same thing. Some had been away from their families for more than 10 years. One Ghanaian called Adrian said: “I have spent 10 years without seeing my family. I left my wife pregnant and I have never seen the child. I fear to go back empty-handed.”
The dilemma facing African immigrants in Europe is that they can barely find work. But returning home is no longer an option because they cannot pay back the money they borrowed for their trip. On top of this, the people who stayed at home want their share of the “riches” collected in Europe. They fear going home with nothing, because their family and friends will laugh at their failure and expel them from the community.
All of this makes immigrants vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination and humiliation. It is far from the “gold mountains” they dreamed of.
Many go from Africa to Europe as fortune hunters with high expectations but little information about the reality of life as an illegal immigrant.
In October 2005, I read an article about the plight of 11 illegal immigrants who were killed when a fire broke out while they were awaiting deportation at a prison complex outside Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
I was shocked, particularly, because I thought such negligent situations could not happen in a developed country like the Netherlands. This was the turning point in my perception of Europe. I could never have imagined that a disaster of that scale would take place in such a wealthy, well-organised country.
It opened my eyes to the miserable situation I was in and I could see that I was trapped between my false expectations of Europe and the unrealistic expectations of my family.
Then I started the Surprising Europe project. I wanted to tell people the problems that Africans face – particularly those who migrate to Europe with the intention of working and becoming rich.
The project is not intended to discourage Africans from going to Europe, but rather to encourage them to weigh up their options before leaving their homelands.
ROHAN RATHORE a true lover from IIT Guwahati was suffering from cancer. He sang this song for Supriya a girl he loved more than anything and anyone in the world. Unfortunately she didn’t return his love but this song was something he felt he had to do. He died just 15 days after recording this song.
“REALLY,dis song comp ells me to pen down my feeling on love.GOD!!!!!!TAKE away love from dis world our selfish planet”EARTH”become a tomb.NO value of true love…………” @nidhi
Love is miracle of” SWEET ART”
Killing care & grief of “HEART”
Little drops of “TRUE TEAR”
A slice of “HAPPINESSES”
Little grains of “CARE”
Might make him “FEARLESS”
if someone pour a “SLICE OF LOVE”
Through his “divine music”
HE made “Lasting spring”
Fall asleep forever
Hours,days & years slide soft away
Grief of heart “REMAIN NEW “ever nd ever
I have “TEAR “in my eyes
THE feel which u gave made me “REALIZE”
That sun too gets set but true LOVE always “RISE”
I looked into your heart your true love never “DIES”
BUT AT LAST…………………………………………………………………..
FOR true love,LOVE is only law of life. WHO LOVES,LIVES, who is selfish dying,therefore “LOVE FOR LOVER’S SAKE”because it is the only”LAW OF LIFE”………
“heart touching line”
Tune mere jaana, kabhi nahin jaana, Ishq mera, dard mera haaye Tune mere jaana, kabhi nahin jaana, Ishq mera, dard mera Aashiq tera Bheed mein khoya rehta hai Jaane jahaan Poocho toh itna kehta hai ………
SECOND ITS SO I WILL NOT SAY AS YOU WILL WATCH U GONNA HAVE YOUR OWN THOUGHTS its not a script nor they are professional actor they are the ambassador of love……………..as the story is directed by allmighty
any wayz frnds !!!!!!!!!!!!!! its really great is-int ?”Love is your song — you can sing it any time. It is like breathing. Nobody is going to take it away from you; nobody can take it away from you.”Osho
Ten December, 1950. Now sixty years ago to the day when the United Nations International Human Rights Charter came into effect.Accordingly, every human without apartheid, Zatihed, nationality difference is equal to and equal rights and as The world might have stepped into the 21st Century but when it comes to human rights sometimes this is hard to believe. Slavery, torture, unlawful imprisonment, lashings, stoning, executions, under age and forced marriages are practices which you might think have eroded through time. The reality is that worldwide human rights violations still exist and in some cases at an astonishing level. Usually those who experience abuse do not have a voice nor the means to have their cries heard. Many people suffer and die in silence.
First up I wanna wish you all great human rights day 2010 and dedicate song for you all By legend BOB MARLEY ,then I will discuss something about what special on human rights day 2010 .
As Bob was fighting for his identity in this this world ,because his mother was black women and his father was white guy and once he reflected “I don’t have prejudice against meself. My father was a white and my mother was black. Them call me half-caste or whatever. Me don’t dip on nobody’s side. Me don’t dip on the black man’s side nor the white man’s side. Me dip on God’s side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white”
And his that message was transformed as itself a great lyrics and song …..One love, one heart
Let’s get together and feel all right
Hear the children crying (One love)
Hear the children crying (One heart)
Sayin’, “Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right.”
Sayin’, “Let’s get together and feel all right.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa
Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (One love)
There is one question I’d really love to ask (One heart)
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?
One love, one heart
Let’s get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (One love)
So shall it be in the end (One heart)
Alright, “Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right.”
“Let’s get together and feel all right.”
One more thing
Let’s get together to fight this Holy Armageddon (One love)
So when the Man comes there will be no, no doom (One song)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
There ain’t no hiding place from the Father of Creation
Sayin’, “One love, one heart
Let’s get together and feel all right.”
I’m pleading to mankind (One love)
Oh, Lord (One heart) Whoa.
“Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right.”
Let’s get together and feel all right.
Liu Xiaobo. He is being awarded theNobel Peace Prize today for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China, but cannot accept this prestigious award in person because he is serving an 11-year prison sentence for proposing democratic reforms.
Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights” — a decision that produced a bitter reaction from the Chinese government as well as renewed calls for his release from President Barack Obama and others.
“China has made dramatic progress in economic reform and improving the lives of its people,” Obama, last year’s Nobel peace laureate, said in a statement. “But this award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected. We call on the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu as soon as possible.”
Thorbjoern Jagland, the Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman, said China’s government should expect its policies to face scrutiny as it has transformed into a big power both economically and politically.
This Nobel Laureate should be freed, immediately and unconditionally.
any wayz be the change u wanna see just like Gandhi .
And lastly i wanna quote my friends statement he is motivational speaker at iowa state university if we implemented it our life then perhaps every day will be celebration for human rights not only 10 th december .
Do you go to college to simply get a job and an academic degree at a convocation? I go to college to stand next to fat, ugly, beautiful, gay, lesbian, transgendered, straight, bisexual, stupid, smart classmates without feeling embarrassed. Education to me is tolerance, love and compassion for another human being. We can reject religion, ideology, received wisdom, but we cannot escape the need for love and compassion. Author – Akash patel .
GIVE LOVE SPREAD LOVE
True role of investigative reporting
That insightful, sensitive, and focussed coverage of social problems and issues by the news media can play an agenda-building role even if the direct impact is limited is borne out by this investigative story of a fatal oil bath published in a recent issue of Tehelka magazine (November 20, 2010). It began like this: “An exercise in love and health when given to newborn children, a ceremonial beginning to festivals, and the universal answer to pitiless summers. In Tamil Nadu’s small industry hub of Virudhunagar, however, it is the beginning of ‘slow murder.’ The marker of the devastating poverty that makes a son kill his own ageing mother.” This is one of a large number of articles on the darker side of social life that the magazine has been publishing for nearly a decade.
“Mother, shall I put you to sleep?” brings to light how a section of people in this commercially advanced region of southern Tamil Nadu — a State often described as “progressive and prosperous” — have found a “less painful” solution to the existential challenge of confronting penury .
The investigation discovered a small trend, shocking in itself but capable of growing into a social menace if it was not addressed at its root. Younger members of some families were pushing their infirm, elderly dependents to death because, it was explained, they could not afford to take care of them. The deadly modus is known locally as ‘thalaikkoothal,’ a leisurely oil bath. This is how they go about it.
The elderly person is given an extensive oil bath before dawn. The rest of the day, he or she is given several glasses of tender coconut water. (Ironically, this is everything a mother would have told her child not to do while taking an oil bath.) The Tehelka reporter quotes a practising doctor in Madurai as explaining that tender coconut water, taken in excess, brings on renal failure. By evening, the body temperature falls sharply and in a day or two, the old man or woman dies of high fever. The method does not generally fail because, as the doctor further explains, “the elderly persons often do not have the immunity to survive the sudden fever.” The investigation found further that local folk have other deadly tricks up their sleeve, procedures such as “milk treatment” and “thrusting mud dissolved in water down the throat,” which is “the most painful of the lot.” Killer injections and poisons were resorted to at times. A strange and poignant aspect of the inhuman practice of doing away with old people is that it does not, according to the Tehelka article, provoke anger or fear among those marked out for murder. The typical attitude is one of “helpless resignation.” The entire thing is taken as “an accepted practice,” which a doctor claims has been in use for more than three decades. The district collector, who has expressed his shock over the incidents, has arranged for an investigation by the administration.
The Hindu, in a couple of reports published in 2008, warned of deteriorating economic conditions in the region, which had forced younger people to migrate to towns and cities looking for jobs and leaving their parents and dependants in villages to fend for themselves. “The problem of elders,” one of the stories noted, “is compounded by the absence of employment caused by successive failure of monsoon.” Another report revealed that Valandur, Karumathur, Keeripatti, Pappapatti, and some other neighbouring villages had a strange but common practice of the elderly being “dispossessed by their families once they became non-contributors to household income.
This phenomenon of children looking at their parents as a burden that could not be carried along was first noticed by National Service Scheme volunteers of Arul Anandar College.” The Principal of the college said that it was a painful issue; it was the prevailing economic condition that determined the phenomenon of inclusion or exclusion of the elderly people.
That this was the very region where more than two decades ago intrepid journalistic investigation brought to light the atrocious social practice of female infanticide and subsequently female feticide. The expose by a popular Tamil magazine developed into a countrywide movement against this cruel practice, which was justified and rationalised by the families, citing desperate poverty. The media, print as well as broadcast, were in the forefront of a campaign for tough and effective legislative and regulatory measures to eliminate the practice .
The hope is that Tehelka magazine’s recent expose of the equally heinous practice of doing away with aged parents and dependants, by whatever name called, will give an impetus to the government’s efforts to take care of senior citizens who cannot look after themselves. The key will be effective action, backed by adequate resources, in the villages of India. Inasmuch as the economic policies of governments at the Centre and in the States contribute to the widening of disparities in income, wealth, and living conditions and to the inexorable rise in the prices of essential commodities, the state must accept primary responsibility to remedy the situation and, at the very least, provide effective relief. As has happened in the case of most welfare legislation and social policy measures, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act enacted in 2007 has not been implemented sincerely. This becomes even more important in the context of rising longevity in society and the substantial increase in the number of senior citizens in recent decades as part of the development process.
The Hindu‘s Open Page has carried several insightful articles in recent months on this challenge facing rising India. My hope is that the main news section and the feature sections of the newspaper, and also other major newspapers and magazines, will give more space to these issues and cover them in a sustained way, so that they get more public and policy attention
@information sources ,The Hindu.
BIHAR which gave the world its first Republic ,nourished Buddha to enlightenment,gave world its best ancient university,gave Aryabhatt, the great ancient mathematician,gave Ashoka Chakra that adorns India’s national flag ,gave India its first president,Ashoka – The Great was the greatest ruler of India,Mahavir came out of from this land to found Jainism,gave the world its first Yoga University and Mahatma gandhi father of nation of India started working for human rights from this land and inspite of such a great and rich history Bihar is still struggling for it existence on grass root level. Illetracy rate is high, over all we can its very backward state illuckily but yeah some positive rays had been felt from last five years as last government Headed by MR .Nitish KUKMAR and in this general election again elected by public on
name of dvelopment and some great social work on a very grass root level by true social worker Santosh sarang as he is brainchild of this unique concept it was indomitable as APPAN SAMACHAR “ALL WOMEN NEWS NETWORK ” under this concept village girls are trained as journalist they are trained with technical aspects also with camera handling & video editing .
He is journalist and true social worker came with this concept to encourage Rural Journalism and to turn these village girls into journalist especially working for women empowerment .
Rural Journalism Workshops
Designing the journalism workshops for rural girls/women with little exposure to mainstream media has been exciting and challenging. The workshop content has included discussions around what constitutes news, as well as the practical aspects of identifying sources of news, gathering information, validating news sources and conducting interviews. The workshops have adopted a hands-on approach, where participants gather news, do interviews and then file their story. An exposure to different styles of writing is also provided. These workshops are organized by a trust “Mission Eye International Service”( behind set up of all women news network ) has also developed a training module. The workshop was visualized as an input that would enable women to understand the basic principles of journalism. Developing an understanding on what constitutes news, sources of news and information, news collection, interviews and writing news were some of the key content issues.
“Appan Samachar” produces bulletin fortnightly. The content of this all-women community news network is decided by a “Team of Women Reporters” & “Community Editorial Board” based on viewer feedback and key campaign issues. Different segments might include:
• Community News – the issues of farmers & poor communities, such as government schemes, local health & hygine issues, and upcoming events that are not covered by the mainstream news
• Public Opinions – the public opinions on different local and burning issues.
• Success Stories – the students & local people who work on innovative ideas and inventions in agriculture sector and such as families that have found economic success through educating their girls
• Short Documentaries – the stories on various local problems, community based issues like-social evils, health & hygine, mal-nutrition, envirnment, HIV/AIDS, RTI and stories where families speak out against alcoholism.
• Legal Awareness – i.e., what to do if police personnel don’t lodge FIR.
• Local Culture and Music – could be introductions to the festivals of another community/religion
• Interviews – interview of local farmers, agriculture scientist, experts, local represantatives, polece personnel, local leaders, officials etc.
• Editorial – where the news network and the reporters take their stand-for-change on the issue and give follow up action points
• Local humour/jokes/skits – because we need to make people laugh!
• Election Campaign – election campaign to educate & aware voters.
• Human Rights & Environment Programme – special programme on human rights & environment.
Apart from all the wider impacts of Appan Samachar in the world of rural Bihar, this innovative concept has had a very crucial impact on the lives of the women who work as its production, editorial, screening and advertisement team. They’ve had to push at the boundaries of the spaces they are conventionally expected to inhabit-whether to study further than they have been given the opportunity to, or negotiate the public sphere in an active sense.
More fundamentally, all the members of the team have become reflective about their gender, class and class identities, and the way in which this moulds their lives and work. Take for example, Rinku had no internet to watch news bulletin on her TV set. She always saw only serials or films. After joining Appan Samachar, her more time spent on TV to watch news bulletin. Now Rinku has more knowledge about current affairs and various government schemes. Like Rinku, other girls also gain more knowledge and want to get a job in big media houses. This had a huge impact on her life. It gave her a confidence she never had before.
The firebrand Girls –Background
Most of the girls belonging to remote villages and poor families. Their parents are illiterate or semi literate. Family is also economically poor. The base of their livelihood is farming or labouring.
Impact of Appan Samachar
A report on Self Help Group running at Chandkewari village highlighted corruption in a Rural Bank. After this report, the Manager of that bank promised to distribute KCC loan and revolving fund to farmers and SHGs without any bribe. Within one and half year, many farmers were granted KCC loans without any bribe. A report on corruption in NREGA scheme forced Block Programme Officer to lodge an FIR against Rojgar Sewak.
THIS IS A ONE MINUTE VIDEO DONE BY CNN IBN WHERE FIRST LADY IPS OFFICER KIRAN BEDI SUPPORTS THESE VILLAGE GIRLS .
As being film maker I am also serving this mission and going to Make a feature length documentary on this story.