Travelling Vicariously – child migrant journeys

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Pen and ink drawing by Linh Vu depicting the boat she escaped in, as a child, with her father from Vietnam

In the last few months I have travelled on an open sailing boat from Vietnam to Singapore, by jumbo jet from El Salvador to London and by foot, through the jungle, from Rwanda to the Congo. In my mind at least. The experiences of child migrants who have shared their stories with me have infiltrated my consciousness and filled my dreams. It is as if I have been there although, in reality, I am not sure I  would have shown such resilience.

The child migrants have come to East London under the age of 18 between 1930 and the present day. They have come from as far afield as Turkey, Cyprus, Brazil, El Salvador, Poland, Italy, Southern Ireland, Vietnam, Jamaica, Antigua, Guinea, Nigeria, Rwanda, Yemen, Somalia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The oldest person I interviewed was 99 and the youngest was 5.

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Sylhet, Bangladesh by Eithne Nightingale 1978

Now others can share in these  journeys by accessing the website  www.childmigrantstories.com. Myself and Mitch Harris have worked in collaboration with former child migrants, some of whom are artists, musicians and film makers to develop a website and introductory film – see below. The memories are poignant, powerful and sometimes very funny.

We will update the  website with further films and spotlight stories on a regular basis. I am also keen that the website becomes a shared platform to collect new stories of child migration from within and beyond East London and to explore contemporary, pressing issues about child migration.

I would love you to share this website with others including through your own social media networks (retweets, new tweets, @mentions and so forth).

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported this project so far. We hope, with your continued support, that it will go from strength to strength.

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