8 Years African Boy Travelled 3,500 miles ALONE to Italy for Education

Oumar, an eight-year-old boy from west Mali, embarked on an incredible journey to Italy after a jihadist group attacked his hometown, leaving him separated from his family. His primary motivation was to find a safe place to continue his education, navigating through numerous challenges and dangers along the way.

After the attack, Oumar decided to leave his village near Tambaga in the west of Mali. He walked through the Sahara desert, joining different groups of travelers along the way and eventually ended up in Libya. However, in Libya, he was captured by a gang and forced to work as a welder and a painter. Despite his captivity, Oumar remained determined to reach Europe for the opportunity of education.

Oumar 8 Years Old African Boy Travelled 3,500 miles ALONE to Italy for Education
Oumar 8 Years Old African Boy Travelled 3,500 miles ALONE to Italy for Education

Key Takeaways:

  • Oumar’s journey from Mali to Italy is a testament to the resilience and determination of a young boy in the face of unimaginable adversity.
  • The journey underscores the dangers and inhumanity of the Sahara desert and the broader impact of conflict and instability on the lives of children.
  • Education is highlighted as a tool for empowerment and a means to escape the cycle of violence and poverty.

Breaking free from his captors, Oumar attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea on a dinghy. His first attempt was thwarted when his dinghy was captured by the Libyan coast guard, and he was thrown into the notoriously brutal Ain Zara jail in Tripoli. With resilience and courage, he managed to escape prison and embarked on a second attempt to cross the sea, facing the perilous journey alongside other migrants.

Oumar 8 Years Old African Boy Travelled 3,500 miles ALONE to Italy for Education
Oumar 8 Years Old African Boy Travelled 3,500 miles ALONE to Italy for Education

After days adrift at sea, Oumar and his companions were rescued by the NGO lifeboat Ocean Viking, averting a potential tragedy. Angela Nocioni, a journalist on board, attested to Oumar’s incredible resilience and determination, advocating for his well-being. Upon arriving in Italy, Oumar received medical attention and support. Despite his challenging journey and physical hardships, he remained determined to pursue his education.

Upon reaching Italy, Oumar was able to phone his father, whose number he had remembered by heart, to tell him he was alright. His father answered, and Oumar told him he was in Europe before asking ‘can I go to school, Papa?’ Doctors checked over Oumar and it became clear his body had been through a lot, with scars and a broken bone in his heel that needed a cast. The center was trying to find a place for him in a local school, alongside other migrant children.

Oumar left his tiny village near Tambaga in the west of Mali four months ago. He then travelled on foot through the Sahara before sailing across to Italy

Oumar’s story highlights the resilience and bravery of migrant children seeking better opportunities. His journey, filled with danger and hardship, underscores the lengths to which some children will go to secure a future for themselves. Despite the challenges he faced, Oumar’s determination to continue his education and his eventual arrival in Italy serve as a testament to his courage and the lengths he was willing to go to fulfill his dream.

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