Being female and pregnant are two factors that increase vulnerability during migration. Since 2015, Athens has been one of the cities with the highest traffic of asylum seekers in Europe. C’est Pas Facile is a documentary in which women from Syria, Afghanistan, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo talk about their experiences in refugee camps; the fear of not knowing where or under what conditions a mother is going to give birth; or the impossibility of having a decent pregnancy control.
In 2020, 53% of migrant women arriving in Libya were victims of sexual exploitation at the hands of traffickers.Médicos del Mundo
In 2019, after several years working on co-creation projects with young asylum seekers, we decided to focus on the conditions of women who arrive pregnant or with dependent children. For this, we live with them day by day, establishing a bond of mutual trust that allowed us to learn about their experiences and current situation. As a result of our observation and coexistence, we made a teaser, however, this did not reflect all the complexity of the topic. That’s why, months later, we decided to return to make a documentary about motherhood in migration.
“My life motto is ‘Nothing is impossible’. I came to Greece through a very very complicated path. Who can? Just strong women. We’re brave if we want to.– Farsone, coming from Iran.
Believe in yourself”
The abuse of power is constant along the way. Many migrants are extorted by mafias and sexual violence is recurrent at border crossings. People traffickers and aid workers from humanitarian organizations abuse power towards women and minors. At the same time, refugee camps, designed for short-term humanitarian attention, become ghettos, leaving asylum seekers in limbo.
This waiting together with precarious health care causes many women to have forced pregnancies. This means having to deal with the traumas caused by sexual violence or loss of family members without having the necessary psychological help. Furthermore, in refugee camps or other settlements, there is no guarantee of basic nutrition for the proper development of the fetus. Likewise, resources as elementary for hygiene as compresses or diapers are not guaranteed. In this situation, the chances of getting infections increase substantially. However, pregnancy in a conflict situation is one more reason to fight with their purposes.
Listening to these women and trying to be a speaker in which to vent has been a privilege as well as a very intense learning experience. C’est Pas Facile is a documentary made with a lot of effort. A small proportion of something that happens every day on a large scale. An attempt to de-victimize migrant women, who must be recognized for their strength and tenacity. Well, being a mother in this context becomes a duality suitable only for the brave. Facing fear without giving up the fight, for themselves and their family.
“I was a victim of sexual violence, but it’s something that you don’t see. I live with it, and every day I tell myself that if I become someone tomorrow, I will fight for the protection of women. I’m going to create an association because women are always the victims”
“The hardest thing for the mothers who cross from Syria to Turkey are the drugs that the mafia forces them to give to the children so that they fall asleep. As a result, some develop health problems or even die from overdoses”
“My son was 6 when I let him go to Sweden. He went alone, accompanied by the mafia. Once there he joined my husband. I’m still here, in Athens, with my daughter. I have tried five times to travel there, but the police have stopped me each time”
Director of Ojalá Projects
The space, located in the Raval, has given shelter to numerous families and migrants in situations of extreme vulnerability. During the pandemic, it has been a nerve center for help and mutual support in the neighborhood
The Grup TEB Cooperativa is an association that promotes the employment of those with a cognitive disability. Disseny per a la Inclusió together with TEB Sant Andreu with design students from ESDAP Catalunya on the occasion of a co-creative project.
Durante la primera edición de Disseny per a la Inclusió, la asociación Metzineres del Raval y algunas estudiantes de diseño de BAU y ELISAVA se encuentran cada viernes de febrero a junio del 2021 para diseñar piezas de moda a través del upcycling, o reciclaje de ropa.